lundi, juillet 31, 2006

Separation of Church and State

Have you ever heard of Reverend Gregory A. Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church, a megachurch, in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota? If not, you should look him up for he is expressing many sentiments that I have been mulling over for quite some time. Reverend Boyd asserts that since the presidential election race of last year, conservative politicians and members of his congregation alike have been urging him to vocally support conservative politicians and causes (anti-abortion rallies, actively denounce homosexuality, support the war in Iraq, etc.). He refuses because he vehemently opposes the merging of the institutions of church and state. In today's New York Times article, the author, Laurie Goodstein, asserts,

"Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns... Mr. Boyd said he never intended his sermons to be taken as merely a critique of the Republican Party or the religious right. He refuses to share his party affiliation, or whether he has one, for that reason. He said there were Christians on both the left and the right who had turned politics and patriotism into "idolatry"...He said he first became alarmed while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing “God Bless America” and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses. 'I thought to myself, ‘What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?’...In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said...'America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,' he said. 'America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state'. 'I am sorry to tell you,' he continued, 'that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.' Mr. Boyd lambasted the “hypocrisy and pettiness” of Christians who focus on “sexual issues” like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson’s breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public".

After coming public with his views, he lost about 1/5 of his congregation, mostly middle class white suburbanites who are theologically and politically conservative. But has garnered more of another demographic ---African Americans, Hispanics and Hmong immigrants from Laos, all of which he welcomes stating that his ideal is to make his church as ethnically and economically diverse as possible.

Should Jesus be in the White House? Should government decisions, policies, wars be started in the name of Jesus, Christianity? I emphatically say no for the following reasons:

  1. In today's society being Christian or associating yourself with 'Jesus' is now associated with a boatload of baggage, primarily because of its association with Bush, conservatism, American nationalism, and Republicanism. “There is a lot of discontent brewing,” said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., andone of the leaders in the evangelical movement commonly known as the “emerging church,” that is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.
    “More and more people are saying this has gone too far — the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right... You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people". Bush has made no mistake of vocally making political decisions that effect nations, lives and have impacted the global stratosphere in the name of God. What? How is this ever accepted and/or tolerated?
  2. Historically, Christian theocracies have been increasingly violent and oppressive. Where is there a model of a Christian theocracy that has successfully succeeded? In fact, it was't too long ago that the Church used the Bible to defend slavery.
  3. Goodness, decency, and respect are not just Christian values. Do Christians have a responsibility to be of service and ensure justice. Yes, I agree. But I don't believe that agnostics, Jews and Muslims couldn't espouse the same values and interests when enacting policies and implementing social justice.

There are several books being published right now that speak to this current dialogue about the place of religion in politics. Here are two:

  • The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church by Gregory A. Boyd
  • Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America — an Evangelical’s Lament by Randall Balmer

There needs to be a division between church and state or the teaching of Jesus and the values of Christianity will once again be tied to the torture and unnecessary deaths of many. History will repeat itself! And if you're so inclined, I have included a few of Pastor Boyd's podcats below:

slugabed -- n. : One who stays in bed until a late hour; a sluggard

"I can see every monster as they come in" -- Truman Capote

dimanche, juillet 30, 2006

Mel Gibson is a Racist?

Mel Gibson was arrested Friday after police stopped his 2006 Lexus LS 430 for speeding at 2:36 a.m. Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said deputies clocked him doing 87 mph in a 45 mph zone. A breath test indicated Gibson's blood-alcohol level was 0.12 percent, Whitmore said. The legal limit in California is 0.08 percent. Gibson posted $5,000 bail and was released hours later.Apparently, Gibson asked on eof the policemen is he was a Jew and then proceeded to go on a harangue about Jews, part of his tirade apparently consisting of "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world". Rabbi Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the anti-defamation league, “If it’s true what’s reported, frequently hatred, bigotry and prejudice, which is controlled, explodes at moments of stress and crisis...Liquor loosens the tongue of what’s in the mind and in the heart, and in his mind and in his heart is his conspiracy theory about Jews and hatred of Jews”.

Gibson stated his contriteness when he remarked, "I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said, and I apologize to anyone I may have offended". Additionally, Gibson stated that he has battled with alcoholism virtually all his life. But the damage is done. Allegations of his possibly anti-semitic behavior arose during the press surrounding his Passion of the Christ, which made him an extremely wealthy man seeing as he financing much of the film himself. During that time his father, Hubble Gibson, remarked that most of what is being said about the Holocaust is "fiction".

Apparently Gibson has been producing a six hour documentary on the Holocaust for television but this seems moot to reconstruct his image. The Lethal Weapon guy is an anti-semite! Its interesting how racism sprouts its ugly head. I wonder what kind of outrage will stir up as a result of this latest page in the bookof racism. Will the Jewish community (and others for that matter) be virulent in their quest to address this matter? Or will it be swept under the carpet? How will this incident effect Mel's box office revenue for his upcoming movie Apocalypto about the decline of the Mayan empire? Mel has surely made a lot of enemies as Hollywood is full of Jews but will the public respond to his to his hateful tirade or remain apathetic? I think this will be a good litmus test to see 1.) How Hollywood/public respond to stars and star systems that are publicly racist and 2.) How racism against certain groups is either rolerated more or virulently dealt with at a very public level. Time will most definitely tell.

chichi -- adj: Affectedly trendy

"More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones" -- Truman Capote

samedi, juillet 29, 2006

Be Succinct

"If you want to write better, an old mentor of mine once said, write tighter. Pick the fewest possible words, he said, and rely on compression to make your ideas explode off the page".
Jack Schafer, Slate Magazine

For all you writers out there, I've heard time and time again that the key to good writing was to get your point across in as few words as possible. Be succinct! Big words aren't necessarily the best way to go either, they alienate audiences and more often than not muddle the text. I tend to use more words than necessary, so this will surely be an interesting test for me one I feel will be useful to implement. So, in the spirit of this text. I will be concise.

Oh, had a great time this weekend with Xenia and Chi Chi. I also met this Haitian guy who went to Princeton and works at the NYSE. Hmmmmm......

bon ton -- n: 1. Fashionable or elegant manner or style 2. The proper or fashionable thing to do 3. Fashionable society; a fashionable social set

"I am who I am, doing what I came to do, acting upon you like a drug or chisel or remind you of your me-ness as I discover you in myself" --- Audre Lorde

vendredi, juillet 28, 2006

Bill Cosby has more to say

Bill Cosby is upset again. This time at the Washington Post for a series they're doing entitled "Being a Black Man", which includes video clips from young Black men, saying that it paints too rosy a picture of young Black men in America. He asserts, "The Washington Post ran a clip and then they edited it and they had in what they wanted us to see these men saying... unless I missed it, I heard not one black man say anything about being a father. I heard not one black man say, 'my responsibility,' not one. The edited version of these people with a camera on a drive-by – I'm looking to media. I don't like people who see and can't tell the truth. . . . A man tells me, 'It's not as bad as it seems.' I don't want to hear that shit." Bill Cosby was the lead speaker on a recent panel entitled, "Paths to Success: A Forum on Young African American Men", and was speaking about several surveys and points that were given in the Washington Post series including their findings that eight in 10 black men surveyed said they were satisfied with their lives and six in 10 reported that it was a "good time" to be a black man in the United States. Bill Cosby prompted a lot of dialogue a year or so ago when he lambasted working class Blacks for their child rearing and values.

Now, I have always loved Bill Cosby. I think he is an important figure in American culture, American history and Black history. But I feel myself torn with his words. The "picture perfect" American dad is now replaced with a more human side, more imperfect side; something that is disconcerting when you hold someone, especially a celebrity, up on such a high pedestal. That's why making celebrities role models is such a dangerous proposition. The celebrity is a product of a larger star system that crafts that person into an ideal. That person will inevitably act out against or deviate from the ideal. Bill Cosby is an example of that. While I understand his frustration at the state of Black people in America, I do not condone his harangue against them, particularly working class Blacks. Cosby's comments are particularly interesting as they show the disconnect between working class and middle class Blacks.

So what is the answer? While I do agree with Cosby in his assertion that things aren't great for Black men in the United States (or Black people for that matter) what good will admonishing people do? What steps, programs, mentorships, allocations of Black money, representation in government, movements, etc. in Black communtities need to be made so that Black children and Black people will have a better quality of life in America? I am still a fan of Cosby, that will never change. But now I realize that he is human.

*If you have some time today, please check out the following articles from Slate and the New York Times . They are both fascinating reads and will definitely give you a lot to talk about*.

tmesis -- n: In grammar and rhetoric, the separation of the parts of a compound word, now generally done for humorous effect; for example, "what place soever" instead of "whatsoever place," or "abso-bloody-lutely."

"I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I'll be sending messages on a Ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side" -- Audre Lorde

jeudi, juillet 27, 2006

DMX: The Soul of a [Tortured] Man

As a voracious reader, I have recently tried to make some system to the type of books that I will read at any given point. Recently, I have decided to read books in clumps based on author (i.e. Stephen King), profession (politician, writer, etc.) or genre (fiction, self-help, etc.). This summer, I picked biographies and autobiographies of musicians, a subject that I was not well versed in. Sure, I knew the music but I didn't know the person. I read bios on Jimi Hendrix, Sam Cooke, Charlie Parker, Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis,. etc. and common themes began to develop --- drugs, sex, alcohol. In short, is the quintessential musician a tortured soul?

Enter DMX. He is perhaps one of the most unabashedly tortured souls in contemporary music today. Even in hip-hop, where lyrics resound with a motley of violence, women, drugs, bling, and sex, the musician elicits control, asserting that s/he is in charge. Even if the public and the private converge, there is an attempt to forge a separation. Not with DMX. His public and private is almost indistinguishable. When Eminem spits about his demons he does so with a mischevious sense of humor replete with puerile antics. As Tupac asserted his demons, he also wrapped them amidst a warm coat of braggadoccio and smooth, witty banter. DMX crafts his music amidst his tortured self, each track each album eliciting the suffering and self-destructiveness that makes DMX the lost soul that we all know. He has built a hugely successful career with his candor. In 1998, his blockbuster debut, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and follow-up, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood went to number one (in fact, all five of his albums have made their debut at No. 1).

His new reality show, DMX: Soul of a Man, is full of X's virtually schizophrenic behavior and personality --- he's high and he's low, he's loquacious and he's reticent, he' excited and he's mellow, he's angry and he's at peace. A man whose troubles are not just internal, he's been arrested and done time for charges as varied as crack and cocaine possession, impersonating a federal agent, reckless driving and animal cruelty. So where does DMX fit in the larger scheme of pop culture. He's a renegade, not afraid to show that's he's not in control, he has at many a concert gone off on tangents full of his own personal suffering , immediately follwing that by going into prayer. X is a wild card. Perhaps the contemporary female equivalent of X would be Mary J. Blige, famous for her own poignant brand of suffering that she has so brilliantly performed on canonical albums such as My Life and Share My World. However, Mary has evolved -- she no longer tortured, she's happy. The last two albums have marked her ascent out of the demons that have plagued her for quite some time. But X doesn't seem like he is going to be happy --- at least not yet.

What would X be like (and he music for that matter) without his suffering? Is there a happy DMX? Can DMX be a well-adjusted, centered, mental stable person and still be a successful musician? It seems strange to imagine DMX minus the torture, they seem to be so inextricably linked. If you haven't already seen the show, I would suggest you look at at least one episode. Its interesting to see DMX on his own personal and spiritual journey towards peace, where God and the Devil can show up in one breath.

Jimi Hendrix died in bed at the age of 27, choking on his own vomit as a result of a drug overdose next to a white woman that he had just finished having sex with. Jim Morrison died at 27 of a heart attack due to his frequent drug use. Janis Joplin also OD'ed in her late twenties. Marvin Gaye died in his early forties when he was shot to death by his mentally disturbed father who abused him when he was growing up. Kirt Cobain committed suicde by shooting himself in the head when he was in his twenties. Charlie Parker died in his mid thirties and when the coroner got to his body, asserted that he had the body of a man in his late fifties. Miles Davis, though he lived to be in his sixties, was plagued with physical ailments and his own series of violent demons throughout his life. All brilliant musicians but all severely troubled. Though I wouldn't label DMX as brilliant, he is definitely a relevant artist and a singularly defiant figure in contemporary pop culture and hip - hop today. Can DMX find happiness? Or better yet, should he?

gimcrack -- n: 1. A showy but useless or worthless object; a gewgaw adj: 1. Tastelessly showy; cheap; gaudy

“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive” --- Audre Lorde

mercredi, juillet 26, 2006

The Politics of Forgiveness

One of the hardest acts I have ever tried to perform has to be forgiveness. My personality combined with my philosophical disagreement with the very essence of what forgiveness entails makes it very difficult for me to perform the action. For you see, to forgive, to ultimately forgive, is pardon the offender, irrespective of both the offender's acknowledgement of the crime/wrongdoing, etc. that they have committed against you and/or the offender's own (or lack thereof) remorse.

In the book that I'm reading, Bone to Pick: Of Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Reparation, and Revenge, Ellis Cose travels around the world (i.e. South Africa, New Zealand, Peru, etc.) to study how both individuals and societies who have been ruptured and dismantled by trauma (i.e. torture, World Trade Center, warfare, violent death of a loved one) trek along the path of forgiveness, or if they even do. Its a fascinating read to say the least. Take for example the case of Amy a young girl who was raised in a middle class family of devout Mormons, her father a leader in the church. For a number of years in her pre-pubescent up until her fourteenth or fifteenth year, her father repeatedly molested her. As she got older, she began to fight him off and he eventually stopped and moved on the her younger sister. Being somewhat of a loner, Amy never really had friends in school and married at sixteen. She had two children and was involved in an unsuccessful marriage when she discovered that her father had been doing the same thing to her sister for quite some time. Despite his 300 pound frame and his violent temper, Amy, filled with rage, confronted her father. He dropped to the floor and began to beg for her forgiveness. She later found out that he had grown up in an orphanage where he was severely mistreated and carried out his rage upon his children. What I found most intriguing about this story was that while Amy eventually came to forgive her father, she finds it increasingly difficult to forgive her mother who knew about the abuse (she walked in on her husband performing oral sex on her daughter) but did nothting to stop it.

Or take for instance, Thandi Shezi's story a woman who grew up in Soweto, South Africa and was quite vocal and active in the anti apartheid and post-apartheid movement which served to end the torment of Blacks at the hands of apartheid's many enforcers. In 1988, when she was in her teens, a group of cops illegally broke in on her and her friends claiming bogus charges. To get her to talk about their activist activities, they took her male friend and put his penis within an open drawer. As Thandi shouted that she knew nothing, they repeatedly slammed the desk drawer on her friend as he screamed in pain. When they finished with him, four different white policemen took her in the back room and beat and raped her repeatedly as her hands were in cuffs so tight her wrists still bear scars. Then they covered her head with a wet sack, a torture device that when she breathed in the wet sack clung to her nostrils and took her to the edge of suffocation. They then applied electric shocks to her body. Eventually, they took her to a physician; she could barely walk and was unable to talk. The cops told the doctor that she was a prostitute and because her tongue was so badly swollen, she couldn't talk to dispute the lies. She was then incarcerated for a year in solitary confinement and never tried for any crime. A decade later, she testified before a tribunal about what happened to her. There was a part of the tribunal where perpetrators came forward to describe their crimes for amnesty. One of her assailants was there but refused knowing her or acknowledging what he had done to her. She's still trying to move forward with the reconciliation process but finds it virtually impossible if her perpetrator does not admit to what he did to her.

Its stories like these that resound through the book along with a number of pivotal questions posed by both Cose and myself (after reading much of the book):
  1. How effective are apologies?
  2. Are some things so horrific that models of reconciliation and/or forgiveness are not possible? Furthermore, are their some individuals, groups of people, and/or nations that are beyond forgiveness?
  3. Is there a space for revenge, the "settling of scores", or "restorative justice" in social justice movements or acts of reconciliation? If so, how do we determine what is sufficient revenge for what crime? What is the formula? If that is determined, who should carry it out? The individual or the state? If the state, is it possible for the state to carry out "torture" and be "civilized"?
  4. How does a nation adequately atone for atrocities of the past? How do you compensate torture survivors, survivors and descendants of historical events such as the Holocaust and American slavery? Will America ever acknowledge and/ or dialogue about American slavery?
  5. How large a role does religion play in a person's decision to forgive?
  6. Can mercy be taught?
  7. How is evil that is perpetrated against humanity best dealt with: through forgiveness, through retribution...?
  8. Is total forgiveness truly possible? Is atonement a necessary component of true forgiveness?
  9. Is forgiveness obligatory?
  10. Can revenge be beneficially transformative?
  11. Is it easier or harder to forgive when the perpetrator is someone you love?

South Africa is also known for its truth commissions, tribunals where the offended/victimized, etc. are expected to and coerced into forgiving the perpetrator in the spirit of removing animosity and forging bonds between former enemies. Should reconciliation be forced? Likewise, there are others who refuse to forgive and believe vengeance is the only true answer. Forgiveness, is indeed a very, very complicated issue for me, also because I am a Christian and my religious beliefs dictate that Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Romans 12:19) but they also contend "an eye for an eye" (Exodus 21:24). I take my religion seriously which is why I am trying to reconcile all of these feelings, thoughts and ideas that I have. Forgiveness plays a large role in Christian doctrine but the nature of who I am can't just accept something and move forward; I have the move through my thought processes and find a way to reconcile both. I know that I will have to both forgive and be forgiven in life --- but first I must learn how to do both.

exiguity -- n: Scantiness; smallness; thinness;the quality of being meager

"The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house” -- Audre Lorde

mardi, juillet 25, 2006

Current Reading List

I'm always looking for good books, particularly good fiction, to read. As of yet, I really haven't found any good fiction or fiction writers who have captured my interest, therefore, the following list of what I'm reading now is largely made up of non-fiction.

  1. Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster by Michael Eric Dyson
  2. Bone to Pick: Of Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Reparation and Revenge by Ellis Cose
  3. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
  4. An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography by Paul Rusesabagina
  5. You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir by Wole Soyinka
  6. Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 by Salman Rushdie
  7. The Skin Between Us: A Memoir of Race, Beauty and Belonging by Kym Ragusa
  8. The Last of Her Kind by Sigrid Nunez
  9. Whiteman by Tony D'Souza
  10. Are Men Necessary: When Sexes Collide by Maureen Dowd
  11. High Lonesome: Selected Stories 1966-2006 by Joyce Carol Oates
  12. Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Global Performance and Popular Culture Edited by Harry J. Elam, Jr. and Kennell Jackson
  13. Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa 1787-2005 by James T. Campbell
  14. Dark Bargain: Slavery, Profits and the Struggle for the Constitution by Lawrence Goldstone
  15. Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long by Richard D. White, Jr.
  16. Pornography, Sex, and Feminism by Alan Soble
  17. Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley by Christopher John Farley
  18. We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity by Tommie Shelby
  19. Feminism and Pornography by Drucilla Cornell
  20. Black Marxism by Cedric Robinson

farrago -- n: A confused mixture; an assortment; a medley

"The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot" -- Audre Lorde

lundi, juillet 24, 2006

AIDS: A Colored Disease

Its pretty common knowledge that AIDS affects people of African descent disproportionately around the world. In fact, when I did a google image search for photos for this post, I put in the word "AIDS" and on the first page were a myriad of images associated with Africa and Blackness: pictures of the continent, underweight African children staring despondently at the camera, varying colors of Brown arms and hands encircling each other amidst slogans calling for AIDS activism. Even the photos in this post make an explicit statement about Blackness. The venomous spider and scorpion are symbols of the infected partner, notice that Blackness and the the noxious insects that are emblematic of disease are one and the same. So, in essence, AIDS has become colored. In today's New York Times an op-ed appeared about the absence of condoms in the American prison system. Basically, the rationale for this is that sex behind bars is banned. But that doesn't mean that its not happening. Perhaps its the intense conservatism of the current Bush administration coupled with the ever pervasive discomfort that society has with men having sex with men. But as the article states, "The states need to take this advice seriously. Diseases that fester in prison spill over into society as a whole when the infected inmates return to the streets". And indeed, it does spill over. In a tangential 2004 New York Times article, the focus becomes the link between individuals who have gone to prison and transmittal of HIV/AIDS among the African American population. The author Lynette Clemetson writes,

"Many inmates enter prison already infected. The prevalence of confirmed AIDS cases in prisons is three times as high as it is in the general population, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. H.I.V. cases are harder to count, because only 19 states conduct mandatory H.I.V. testing of inmates. But many researchers believe the number of prisoners with H.I.V. to be far higher than the 1.9 percent most recently documented by the justice agency. Correctional health experts say the rampant sexual activity among prisoners depicted in television shows like the HBO prison series ''Oz'' is exaggerated. But sex in prison certainly occurs. And because the distribution of condoms is banned in most correctional facilities -- North Carolina's state prison system included -- any sex between inmates carries a high level of risk.

Add the element of drug addiction, which often goes untreated in prisons and is frequently accompanied by risky sexual activity, said Robert E. Fullilove, associate dean at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and the risk of H.I.V. transmission both inside and outside prison increases exponentially...

Newly released prisoners often plunge immediately into dangerous sexual behavior. ''Many inmates who have been locked up for a while want two things when they come out,'' said Dr. Wohl, who regularly sees current and former inmates in his clinical practice. ''One of them is a Big Mac. The other is sex. If you're going to get to them with condoms or health messages, you have to be quick.'' Thomas Clodfelter, 44, a former felon with H.I.V. who now counsels other ex-convicts in Greensboro, said that for some men, the first weekend after release is consumed with sex -- with prostitutes, old flings, fresh one-night stands or a combination thereof. Condoms, he said, are often an afterthought. "

This year AIDS turned 25. AIDS and I are coevals; I myself not consciously remembering a time when AIDS was not part of the discourse --- whether it was the mystery disease that was killing gay white men to the focus of the 1993 Oscar winning film Philadelphia to the simultaneous global phenomenon and plague it is today. Newsweek's May 15, 2006 issue was solely devoted to AIDS's 25th birthday. Within the issue was a section specifically devoted to HIV/AIDS within the Black community. There is no need to write about the statistics here, share personal stories that this article or the New York Times articles reported on, nor is there any need reiterate how devastating this disease is to our community. Its insidious problems like this: AIDS, poverty, crime, etc. that seem so incredibly herculean a task that you don't even know where to start. This bevy of information that I have had assuredly succeeded in making me hyper-sensitized and paranoid at any mention of HIV/AIDS, knowing that its my demographic that are the most dramatically effected by it in this country. Unfortunately, its become necessary to be suspicious of men and their intentions. Is he positive? Does he know if he's positive? If he is, would he tell me? Due to the dramatic and devastating impact that HIV/AIDS has had on people of African descent, it has become characterized as a sort of "Black death". Disease has become colored and this color is adding another facet of igonominious characterization to Blackness. Are African Americans a dying breed? I hope not but it seems like HIV/AIDS aims to make us one.

afflatus -- n: A divine imparting of knowledge; inspiration

"I am deliberate and afraid of nothing" -- Audre Lorde

vendredi, juillet 21, 2006

At my funeral, there will be a guest list...

Yes, its depressing, surprising and a bit macabre --- but does anyone think about the intricacies of their own funeral? Often, people daydream about the details of life altering events such as weddings, the birth of a child, but funerals??? According to today's New York Times, baby boomers want control over pretty much ever aspect of their lives and well, death, proved to be rather tricky. Enter the funeral planner or concierge. Yes I said it -- funeral planner. There are services that are arising that let you plan down to the detail how you want your funeral to play out from venue, to writing obituaries to food. Mark Duffey, creator of Everest Funeral Package, has assisted hundreds of families with the planning of their last rites.

So I know this is morbid , and trust me, I don't think about my death regularly, in fact I never do. But, I think planning the ins and outs of my funeral (yikes I said it) is something I could see myself doing. I like to be in control. And I want to make a statement in this world so why not make one going out. Here are what some people have planned for their funerals:

  • Estée Lauder had waiters passing out chocolate-covered marshmallows on silver trays
  • Robert Tisch, who ran the Loews Corporation, had a marching band and a full house at Avery Fisher Hall, all coordinated by one of New York’s most prominent party planners
  • Nan Kempner’s memorial was held at Christie’s auction house and guests received a CD of Mozart’s Requiem. Ms. Kempner wanted a live performance of the Requiem, but the logistics — full orchestra, chorus and soloists — were too much.

Writer and entrepreneur Lynn Eisenberg, had a lot of emotions after attending the funerals of both her father and brother. So much so that she wrote a book called The Funeral Planner based on the idea of someone who plans funerals. She has just signed a contract to write two more books on this character and Lifetime TV is developing a sho wbased on her character. She has also created a business entitled Lights Out Enterprises with an emphasis on a "tribute video", that the guests make about themselves and is left to their loved ones when they pass on. The article further stipulates that, "Though most clients want simple services, she said, one asked her for “an all-out disco party on top of their favorite mountain, with 360-degree views,” in order to remind friends of a happy period in their lives together. “And they want everyone to come dressed up in disco outfits.” For a former auctioneer, she recommended printing select words from the eulogy on auction paddles, so people could hold them up during the service".

In the end, the world is your oyster. If you have the means, you can leave this world anyway you want to. Would you want a party or a quiet service? Would you have a guest list? Would the memorial service be held in a church or on the beach? Who knows, this conversation is a bit too morbid for me to continue any further but, in this age with the right amount of cash, you can do and plan for just about anything.

scuttlebutt -- n: 1. A drinking fountain on a ship 2. A cask on a ship that contains the day's supply of drinking water 3. Gossip; rumor.

"Properly, we should read for power. Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one's hand" -- Ezra Pound

jeudi, juillet 20, 2006

Brazil's Delusion About Race

This past week's issue of The Economist ran a story entitled "No Black and White Matter" covering Brazil's new affirmative action policies. The Racial Quota Law and the Racial Equality Statute would create a system whereby universities, the private sector and civil service would be set aside vacancies for candidates of African ancestry. These policies would also effect those of Indian or indigenous descent, the poor and, in certain circumstances, people with physical disabilities. More than 500 prominent Brazilian citizens from artists to scholars to musicians such as Caetano Veloso are vehemently opposed to the quota system. Anthropolgist Peter Fry exclaims, "If you have a society that is based on sameness, you shouldn't throw that away. One defect Brazil doesn't have is outright racial strife, and a battle over who is Black or White could create that".

What! I exclaimed as I read this. I am consistently surprised when I read this sort of hypocrisy from other nations who look to America as the only country with a race problem. Brazil most certainly does have a race problem. A huge one and Black and White categories are most definitely present, though these categories are intermingled with others that reflect the racial mixtures and hues of Brazil. The Economist states that,

"Even 118 years after slavery, the racial divide still runs deep. Except on the football pitch and in music, or during the fleeting days of carnival, precious few of the 80 m black and brown Brazilians ever rise to commanding heights in business and public life. Negros and pardos spend a third less time in the classroom than whites, earn half the wages and are far more likely to be out of work".

Blacks are at the bottom rung of the social and political hierarchy in Brazil and institutional policies need to be set in place to at least give Blacks the opportunity to achieve. What other way is there? The Latin words on the Brazilian flag above state order and progress. The delusion starts with the word progress. There is not progress, only injustice and intolerance, in a country that dis-allows Blacks the right to be first class citizens.

Word on the street: In other news, Spike Lee has inked a deal with NBC to create a new drama for the Fall. Details of the project and Lee's exact role have not been made public as of yet. This should be interesting.

brummagem -- adj: Cheap and showy, tawdry; also, spurious, counterfeit

"Either move or be moved" --- Ezra Pound

mercredi, juillet 19, 2006

Ignorance is Bliss

Every morning as I wake, I pour myself a bowl of Raisin Bran cereal (or make some brown sugar oatmeal) with fat free milk, turn the TV to Good Morning America, turn on my computer, read over my favorite blogs, and read the New York Times that I get through e-mail. Each week I receive Time, Newsweek, The Economist , The New Yorker, and New York Magazine which I make the time to read cover to cover. This being said, I pride myself with being a literate human being, stimulating my intellect and being an informed American, knowing (and being able to engage in intelligent dialogue) about a number of different issues. But alas, there are times when I wish I could give all this up for --- ignorance is bliss. Not knowing about all the atrocities, injustice, and biases that occur daily would probably make me much more content to say the least. But there are pockets in between the atrocities and glaring injustices that I find hope.

With this being said, there were two stories in the New York Times today that caught my eye, one of hope and one of tragedy. In the first, the article relays postulates on what is being called a "ghetto tax" which is defined as the extra costs, when can be anywhere from several hundreds to into the thousands, incurred by low income people to purchase everyday goods, i.e. TVs, cares, etc. Take the following examples:
  • Drivers from low-income neighborhoods in New York, Hartford and Baltimore who insure identical cars and have identical driving records as those who hail from middle-class neighborhoods pay $400 more on average for a year’s worth of car insurance
  • The poor are the primary customers for appliances and furniture at “rent to own” stores where payments are stretched out at exhorbitant interest rates; for example, in Wisconsin, a $200 television can end up costing $700
  • 4.5 million low-income customers, defined as families making with income of less than $30,000 a year, paid on average two more percentage points for car loans than middle-class buyers
  • The common use of storefront check-cashing services by poor people comes with a price which varies by state; in the 12 cities studied in the Brookings Institution Report, the fee for cashing a $500 check ranged from $5 to $50.

In essence, its expensive to be poor. The Brookings Institute, a private nonprofit institution in Washington D.C. designed to faciliate independent research and implement innovative policy solutions to many national and global social ills, has published a report entitled "From Poverty, Opportunity" that details policy ideas and innovative solutions to increasing the purchasing power of the poor and decreasing their financial burdens. The writer of the report, researcher Matt Fellowes remarks, “There’s a large and for the most part overlooked opportunity here to help low-income families get ahead... That is to reduce their costs...Measures that reduced the price of essential goods and services for low-income Americans by just 1 percent would put an additional $6.5 billion a year in their hands". The report is detailed and extensive, engaging and quite innovative though I've only read a few pages of it, I plan on finishing it this weekend. As per Jalylah's blog entry yesterday where she spoke of the Parable of the Weeds, whereby when we forcefully and obnoxiously weed out the evil, we inevitably will destroy good as well. This report is an excellent example of creating solutions to social inequities through strategic research and intellectual prowess not obnoxious browbeating and bullying. By carefully pulling together social responsibility, top-notch resources and minds, and financing with a dose of moral rectitude, much can be achieved. This, my dears, is my story of hope.

Now on to the tragedy: The second story that caught my eye this morning was of another report, recently made public, that the Chicago Police Department tortured about 150 Black men in the 1970s and 1980s in interrogation rooms through the use of electric probes, playing Russian roulette, physical violence, and in some cases, smothering. Robert D. Boyle and Edward J. Egan, the men who are bringing the report to light, say that in many of the cases there is enough evidence to arrest and bring about convictions but due to the statute of limitations of three years on such crimes, indictment and prosecution is not possible. Tres depressing indeed. The end of the article stipulates that the United Nations is calling for a deeper probe, denouncing the acts and saying that such acts of torture should not be so casually dismissed. It further asks the United States to take more stringent precautions in matters of police brutality. We'll see where this goes.

salmagundi -- n: 1. A salad plate usually consisting of chopped meat, anchovies, eggs, and onions, served with oil and vinegar.2. Any mixture or assortment; a medley; a potpourri; a miscellany.

"Genius... is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one" --- Ezra Pound

mardi, juillet 18, 2006

The Ole Boys Club for the 21st Century

The discourse surrounding the exclusion (both implicit and explicit) of women in the sciences is not an untouched subject. Its topical importance has vacillated over the past few decades, becoming a "hot topic" when former president of Harvard Lawrence Summers remarked that "there are issues of intrinsic aptitude" when probed as to why there were so few women receiving tenure in science. The topic is heating up again as Ben Barres, a 51 year old leading neurologist and tenured professor at Stanford, is publicly disavowing the glass ceiling that prohibits many women to getting to his position. Dr. Barres has accomplished much, for lack of a better word, in his life. He received a B.S. from M.I.T., an M.D. from Dartmouth and a Ph.D from Harvard and, about a decade ago, officially went from Barbara to Ben. Dr. Ben Barres is a female to male transgender who has become an outspoken proponent against discrimination and glass ceilings in science.

Today, the New York Times published a conversation it had with Dr. Barres and he recounts a particularly infuriating instance of sexism when he was at M.I.T.

"An M.I.T. professor accused me of cheating on this test. I was the only one in the class who solved a particular problem, and he said my boyfriend must have solved it for me. One, I did not have a boyfriend. And two, I solved it myself, goddamn it! But it did not occur to me to think of sexism. I was just indignant that I would be accused of cheating. Then later I was in a prestigious competition. I was doing my Ph.D. at Harvard, which would nominate one person. It came down to me and one other graduate student, and a dean pulled me aside and said, “I have read both applications, and it’s going to be you; your application is so much better.” Not only did I not win, the guy got it, but he dropped out of science a year later. But even then I did not think of sexism".

It struck me that Dr. Barres did not think of these instances at the time as sexist, given his obvious intelligence, and apparently it struck the interviewer as well. She asked him why and this is the answer he gave,

"Women who are really highly successful, they are just as bad as the men. They think if they can do it, anyone can do it. They don’t see that for every woman who makes it to the top there are 10 more who are passed over. And I am not making this up, that’s what the data show. And it may be that some women — and African-Americans, too — identify less strongly with their particular group. From the time I was a child, from the littlest, littlest age, I did not identify as a girl. It never occurred to me that I could not be a scientist because I was a woman. It just rolled off my back. Now I wonder, maybe I just didn’t take these stereotypes so seriously because I did not identify myself as a woman"

Class, issues of self-identitification, social responsibility to one's social group and individual vs. community are age old conflicts that Dr. Barres has spoken about. Does class advantage and/or personal success for individuals that belong to groups that have been historically oppressed systematically strip away social responsibility to those who have been left behind? Dr. Barres says the data illustrates this as fact. I have to find that data to see if this statement holds up. I suppose that what he's saying does have a ring of truth to it as disappointing as that may be. I've always had a soft spot for and given a bit of slack to Blacks, women, Latino/as, etc. that have ascended to positions of power because I know to do so inevitably means the lost of parts of one's self (i.e. "the shuck and jive dance) but only a little bit of slack.

Of course, to get into the White House, you can't proudly proclaim "Black Power" but at the same time you don't have to completely leave behind or institute policies against your own people. Its a double edged sword. In saying this, women (and Blacks, Latino/as, etc.) are in a precarious position. Ascending to the top positions in any field and/or institution that is notorious for its lack of diversity is challenging, excrutiatingly difficult, and painful. There are perhaps part of your selves that will not recuperate (or at least be permanently damaged) from the struggle. Nonetheless, becoming a co-consiprator is just as heinous. I believe what Dr. Barres is doing is important -- using his position and clout as a platform to advocate for those who don't have the same privilege. Not only is he advocating but he is also actively in the midst of instituting policies that benefit women, such as day-care facilities for graduate students in the sciences.

And what does all this talk about "intrinsic aptitude" and "natural ability" mean? Whenever I hear those phrases I cringe. Talent is only a small part of success. Access to resources and opportunities, hard work, and support systems are critical. Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan didn't just wake up one day and be brilliant athletes. Sure they have talent but their talent was cultivated over time amidst much hard work and support. So arguments using intrinsic ability as evidence should be promptly eviserated. Still, women and people of color have a long way to go when it comes to tenured positions in the sciences at universities around the country. But tis important to remember that when you reach the top you make the decision to take others with you.

otiose -- adj: 1. Ineffective; futile 2. Being at leisure; lazy; indolent; idle 3. Of no use

Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance... poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music -- Ezra Pound

lundi, juillet 17, 2006

Oprah and Gayle Deny Gay Rumors

So in this month's issue of O Magazine, Oprah and Gayle deny the rumors that they're involved in a lesbian relationship. I've actually heard that rumor for quite some time but I don't believe it. True, Gayle and Oprah have a phenomenally close friendship that even seems to surpass the usual dictates of friendship and trangress into something that looks and feels like intimacy but I think its possible for women to create that kind of spirtitual or platonic intimacy that does retreat into a sexual relationship. I can see some of you shaking your heads now but I will continue to contend that the rumors are fallacious.

However, Gayle is quoted as saying, "The truth is, if we were gay, we would tell you, because there's nothing wrong with being gay,". This, I don't believe. I believe that if Oprah were a lesbian, she'd be closeted. Would Oprah's legacy be the same if she were "out"? Would she still be touted as the spiritual guru and pop culture innovator she is today if she were a lesbian? In today's climate, I'm not sure if her celebrity status or cultural impact would be the same. As fabulous as Oprah is (and she's never looked better), I believe that her mostly white, female audience sees her as a mammy figure, an asexual caretaker that soothes them when they feel fat or ugly and solves their problems from a cheating husband to memories of child abuse. She is committed to her longtime partner Stedman who is probably the least threatening Black man her audience has ever seen, content to stay in the background and play an amalgam of roles, the most important being Oprah's mate.

If Oprah was a lesbian, howver, her sexual dynamics would change. She'd no longer be in the stereotypical role of asexual mammy but move into another stereotypical role -- the sexually aggressive lesbian. White women, especially white women of a certain socio-economic class, have historically had their bodies vigourously protected (albeit through enforced and reinforced dictates of sexism) from "colored" influences. If Oprah was a lesbian, white female sexuality would be threatened by virtue of Oprah's race and power. I contend her imagery wouldn't be the same and it may threaten her power base. Which is why if Oprah was a lesbian and Gayle was her partner, they'd keep it quiet. Think about Black celebrities whose sexuality has been questioned for quite some time (i.e. Tyler Perry, Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah). How would their stardom be effected if they were "out"? Moreover, I think Oprah's position as spiritual leader would be threatened. How many openly gay Black spiritual leaders can you think of? I can't think of any.

I feel like American society hasn't progressed far enough for a person's sexual preferences to not impact their stardom. Now, you may say what about Rosie O'Donnell or Ellen deGeneres. Well, both women are white (which implicitly means less threatening), comedians, and intentionally dull down their sexuality, creating an asexual appearance. They have amassed fame and fortune but that too is contained. Both women couldn't get a decent film role to save their lives and they specialize in making people laugh (while often making self-deprecating jokes in the process).

So are Oprah and Gayle gay lovers. I don't think so. If they were gay lovers, would they be out? I don't think so either.

gravid -- adj: Being with child; heavy with young or eggs; pregnant

"When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take - choose the bolder" --- Ezra Pound

dimanche, juillet 16, 2006

Don't Count Us Out

This week's Time Magazine features an article that highlights Sujeet Desai and Carolyn Bergeron a couple that married this month and are eager to begin their lives together. Reverend James Paulson, who officiated their wedding, declared "Love can't be stopped by Down Syndrome". And they seek to prove him right. The article further stipulates that this generation of people who have trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome are shattering stereotypes about what society dictates they are capable of doing. Their life expectancy has more than doubled since 1983, a new range of services that cropped up to ensure their inclusion into the worksforce, and a number of early intervention programs are available now to help them cope with their disability early on. In other words, marriage is now a viable option. Note to self: Never let anyone put put prohibitions on your life.

contumely -- n: 1. Rudeness or rough treatment arising from haughtiness and contempt; scornful insolence 2. An instance of contemptuousness in act or speech.

"A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him" -- Ezra Pound

jeudi, juillet 13, 2006

Time Magazine's Shame

In this week's issue of Time Magazine there is an article entitled "A Soldier's Shame" written by Julie Shaw and Aparisim Ghosh which details the rape and murder of a 15 year old Iraqi girl as well as the murder of her parents and 7 year old sister at the hands of a 21 year old U.S. soldier from Texas named Steven Green. The very beginning of the article reads as such,

"Family members describe Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi as tall for her age, skinny, but not eye-catchingly beautiful. As one of her uncles put it, 'She was an ordinary girl.' So perhaps it was sheer proximity that made the 15 year old so tantalizing".

After I read this part, I paused in shock and anger. I couldn't understand why how she looked made a difference. Why begin the article with a statement that the young woman who was so tortuously brutalized was not beautiful!!! As if being beautiful made it more "understandable" for a woman to be raped. Or worse yet, as if not being beautiful, but available, offered a plausible explanation as to why a man would rape a woman that was deemed "not attractive."

In Helen Benedict's 1992 book Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes she identifies 8 factors that lead the press and the public to blame victims for rape, thereby positioning her in the role of the vamp:

"7. If she is pretty. (Studies have found that although people tend to be biased against attractive rape victims, they are biased in favor of attractive assailants. The idea is that an attractive man does not need to rape because he can get all the women he wants, a reflection of the 'assailants are motivated by lust' myth. "

So the level of attractiveness (of both the victim and the assailant) has been shown to make a difference in the press and public's reponse to rape. I made the decision to read the rest of the article which discussed how Steve Green first ogled, stalked and then raped/murdered the young girl and her family while her brothers were at school. But the way the primary author (who was a woman) chose to begin the article, remained disturbing. Why is it that women are always being positioned in relation to men, particularly how men see them, rather than as separate individuals. Benedict further stipulates that,

  • " There are more words for men that women"
  • "There are more positive words for men than women"
  • "There are 220 words for a sexually promiscuous female and only twenty for a promiscuous male"

So with this being the state of how women who are raped are covered in the press, it would be logical to deduce that an article would begin this way. Still, I was disturbed at why this level of discourse was pertinent to the young girl being raped. The obnly discourse in the article about the young girl related to her attractiveness as descirbed by her surviving male relatives and her positioning as an object of the lust of Steve Green. I thought about writing Time with my ideas but then I wondered if it would do any good. What is the best way to protest this kind of press verbage in a way that reaches the most people, in the greatest amount of time? Maybe I'll write an article about it...

cap-a-pie -- adv: From head to foot; at all points

"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between"
--- Oscar Wilde

The Future is Bright, Very Bright

I love being young! Or maybe I disdain the aging process. I'm not sure yet which one takes precedence. But I love youth. I love being able to take risks, make choices, and follow dreams with the knowledge that (God willin') I have 40 or 50 years left to be serious and do "adult" things. I disagree with George Bernard Shaw when he says, "Youth is wasted on the young". I would rather say that "wisdom (or experience) is wasted on the venerable (a much better word than old people, seasoned folk, or the elderly)". I feel like the future for me is very bright, at least professionally. And I'd like to enjoy this facet of my life-- the twenties-- to the fullest extent possible. So, I have a list of things that I want to accomplish before I'm 30:
  1. Write and publish a book
  2. Travel to 25 countries
  3. Learn to swim
  4. Make a movie
  5. Meet Oprah
  6. Have two boyfriends at the same time
  7. Learn to speak French and Spanish fluently
  8. Become a member of MENSA
  9. Own a home
  10. Learn to make quilts
  11. Get published in The Paris Review
  12. Pay off all my student loans!!!
  13. Be a millionaire
  14. Be in a music video (not a risque one, but a nice R&B/rock/alternative one)
  15. Write a song that somebody records and makes famous

These are just a few of my goals, some of them kinda simple, others outrageous but if I accomplished these. I'd be good. And why not. I'm young!

hobbledehoy-- n: An awkward, gawky young fellow

"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative"
--- Oscar Wilde

mercredi, juillet 12, 2006

Check out my new column

This Popmatters thing is really working out. I really like writing for the website and I'm finally getting the kind of audience that I've wanted for some time -- varied, engaging, responsive. Check out my current article on popmatters that was published last week. Let me know what you think!

pleonasm -- n: 1. The use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; as, "I saw it with my own eyes."2. An instance or example of pleonasm.3. A superfluous word or expression.

"Illusion is the first of all pleasures" --- Oscar Wilde

mardi, juillet 11, 2006

What Ever Happened to Rae Dawn Chong?

During one of my bouts with insomnia, I recently saw a 1994 movie Rae did called Boulevard where Rae plays a prostitute named Old living in Canada. She takes in a young woman whose running away from her abusive partner and the two become fast friends but things quickly go awry. I thought Rae was great. In fact, I've always really liked her as an actress because she seems to ruminate depth and she gives me the impression that she is a thinking woman. I'd love to have a conversation with her in a New York cafe on a rainy day. She just strikes me as a woman with something to say. From Beat Street to The Principal to The Color Purple, I've always found her performances convincing and full of depth. I feel like she is one of those celebrities I'd like to meet just once. I remember about three and a half years ago when I was a graduate student at New York University,I was walking along Washington Square I saw and walked right past Lynn Thigpen, star of such movies as Lean on Me, Novacaine, and Anger Management and the the TV shows The District and L.A. Law. I absolutely loved her and I looked at her in astoundment and awe as I passed her. She saw me looking at her and she smiled by I was too chicken to say anything to her. Alas, she died in 2003 from a cerebral hemorrhage. I had an oppoortunity to tell her how much I love her and I wasted it because I was too shy and insecure to do anything about it. And the worst thing about it is that I think she would have been receptive to me. So this year, I have been intent on breaking out of my shell and taking a risk every month. If I ever met Rae Dawn Chong, I would definitely take the opportunity to tell her how much I respect her work. Maybe she'll be receptive to me and maybe she won't but at least I will have taken the chance.

stormy petrel - noun: 1. Any of various small sea birds of the family Hydrobatidae, having dark plumage with paler underparts; also called storm petrel 2. One who brings discord or strife, or appears at the onset of trouble

"America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up"
-- Oscar Wilde

lundi, juillet 10, 2006

What's Your Soundtrack?

This past weekend I was thinking about my life --what i've done, what I want to do and what I'm doing now. I'm a little behind where I've wanted to be at 26 but I figure I'm not an old maid yet so why not live in the moment now and make up for lost time. So I asked myself, if I could create a soundtrack of my life right now, how I'm feeling, my moods, thoughts, dreams, and wishes, what would be on that soundtrack. Here's what I've come up with:

1. Mary J. Blige -- "Enough Cryin'"
2. Shelia E. -- "The Glamourous Life"
3. Sam Cooke -- "I was Born By the River"
4. Shawn Colvin -- "Sunny Come Home"
5. Jay-Z -- "Encore"
6. T.I. -- "You Don't Know Me"
7. Whitney Houston -- "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"
8. D'Angelo -- "Sh*t, Damn, Motherf*cker"
9. Janet Jackson -- "Control"
10. Lisa Stansfield -- "All Woman"
11. Sarah McLachlan -- "Fumbling Towards Ecstacy"
12. Madonna -- "Who's That Girl?"

What would I name this soundtrack, you ask. Most likely, "Looking for Happiness". Yeah, I know, not that original but its all I've got. What's your soundtrack?

apotheosis, noun; plural apotheoses: 1. Elevation to divine rank or stature; deification 2. An exalted or glorified example; a model of excellence or perfection of a kind

"Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace".
-- Oscar Wilde

mardi, juillet 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Lynn

Today is my sister's 25th birthday so I wanted to send her a shout out. Happy Birthday. I Love You.

emblazon -- verb: To deck in glaring colors; to set off conspicuously; to display pompously; to decorate

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much"
--- Oscar Wilde

lundi, juillet 03, 2006

Song of Myself

I did one of these in a creative writing class that I help out with. Here are my answers. I'd love to know how some of you would answer...

1. If I was a season, I would be... the point when summer becomes fall

2. If I was a gemstone, I would be... a pink diamond

3. If I was an emotion, I would be... melancholy

4. If I was a musical instrument, I would be... the cello

5. If I was an animal, I would be... black panther

6. If I was a faitry tale character, I would be ... Snow White

7. If I was an historical period, I would be... the Renaissance

8. If I was a kind of water, I would be... waterfall

9. If I was a color, I would be... Black

10. If I was a time of day, I would be.. dusk

11. If I was a kind of weather, I would be ... rainstorm

12. If I was a sport, I would be... soccer

13. If I was a piece of clothing, I would evening dress

14. If I was a mythical creature, I would be...centaur

15. If I was a tool, I would be... screwdriver.

16. If I was a physical sensation, I would be... a fever

17. If I was a kind of tree, I would be ... palm tree

18. If I was a scent, I would be...the smell of freshly baked bread

19. If I was a geographical feature, I would be ... a canyon

20. If I was a way of moving, I would be.. a strut

21. If I was a piece of furniture, I would be... an armoir

22. If I was an art form, I would be... Art Nouveau or Surrealist

23. If I was a body part, I would be... a long leg

24. If I was a flavor, I would be ... an understated spice

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination"
--- Oscar Wilde

billingsgate -- noun: Coarsely abusive, foul, or profane language.