Friday, June 25, 2010

Rest in Peace: Michael Jackson - Billie Jean

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In the Words of Satan - The Arrows

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some Latent Thoughts on Father's Day

My brother Joe and his 9 year old son, Nate. Single dad and his main man. They both make me proud.


"The Sun don't come out for many, like Annie/
half orphan, mama never had an abortion/
papa sorta did, still I managed to live..."
~Jay-Z, "Brooklyn We Go Hard"

Father's Day, that holiday always in the shadows of the sugary sweet hoopla of Mother's Day, was on Sunday, yet I've spent the week still contemplating fatherhood. I thought of my friend Isis*, who is now facing trips to family court because of her decision to finally file for custody- and child support. While she told me about her son's father's ugly (but expected) reaction, her preschooler laughingly made a not-so-super Mario spin to his repeated death on my Wii. Isis' decision was far from rash. Her son has lived with her his whole life, even when Dad checked out. She paid for the majority of his expenses, including food, the doctor and medicine. His father was more apt to plunk down a hundred bucks on baby Jordans than diapers. He was constantly late in paying the day care bill, so she often had to take care of it. Enough was enough. So Isis went down to the courthouse and did what she felt was best. But she remained guilt-ridden.She wondered if she had just destined her son to the life of half-orphan that she had lived through as a girl.


My friend David and his son Beniah, husband and son of my best friend Giddel.

On Sunday, in my texting blitz to the fathers I know, I sent one to my best friend Giddel's mother, Veronica. Over the past thirteen years, I watched as she worked, scrimped, saved, paid and loved her way into raising three beautiful, responsible and hard working kids. She received plenty of help from her parents, but still the brunt of the responsibility rested on her shoulders, and so I didn't think twice sending her a message of happiness. She responded with a surpised "Thank you". But I still couldn't help think of all that her ex-husband had missed. He's since passed away, never having a chance to even meet the grandchildren he should be doting on.


In "A 'Vogue' Idea", Carrie wonders if her father's absence from her life has left a void she spent years trying to fill through relationships.

There's an episode of "Sex & The City" where Carrie actually ponders how her life might have been different if her absentee dad had stuck around. She types away at her laptop for her column, asking "How much does a father-figure figure?" Her haunting hypothetical question always lingered in my head. And although never fully played out, I wondered if Ms. Bradshaw's final season decision of who to be with- the older, wiser, worldly Russian or the older, elusive worldly Mr. Big- revealed just how much a father, even absently, figures into some of the most important life decisions a woman can make. Even fictional ones.


Jay-Z has money, power and respect, what The Lox swore you need in life (hmm... where are The Lox anyway?). Yet mixed in with all he has, he still bemoans what he never had. Or rather, who he didn't have.

Back in the day, when I was saying "adios" to high school and a timid "hello" to college, Jay-Z had a huge hit with "Hard Knock Life". Sampling little Orphan Annie, Jigga compared his often chaotic youth in Brooklyn to that famous little parentless red-head who was confined to an orphanage. Life was hard. Life is hard. But you live and learn. Yet, despite the "kicks" and "tricks", the sun would come out. At least it did for Annie. She was adopted by the kind-hearted and rich Daddy Warbucks. Her "tomorrow" came.

It's been over a decade since "Hard Knock Life" was released. Jay-Z is married to one of the most famous woman in the world. He's a platinum artist, part owner of the Nets. He's helped launch the careers of Kanye, John Legend and Rihanna. He's Mr. Morebucks. But his references to the father who wasn't there, to being partially aborted reveal a dark cloud that still seems to shade his sunshine. On "So Ambitious", he talks about the male authority figures who were in his life:

"I felt so inspired by what my teacher said,
Said I'd either be dead or be a reefer head,
Not sure if thats how adults should speak to kids,
Especially when the only thing I did was speak in class,
I'll teach his a--,
Even betters what my uncle did,
I pop my demo tape in start to beat my head,
Peaked out my eye, see if he was beating his,
He might as well say beat it kid, he’s on the list...
I had to lace up my boots even harder,
Father is too far away to father..."


My stepmom Kathy emailed me from the hotel she was at a couple of days ago with my dad in North Carolina. They had attended my great-uncle's 85th birthday party, an event that attracted family from all around the country. She had enjoyed herself, but her heart and mind was in Wisconsin, with her daddy, who's been sick. She's gone through car accidents, heart breaks, sicknesses and a host of other trials, but- her daddy, who she is a female dead ringer for, being sick... is crushing. Maybe she doesn't know that her words drip of despair, that somehow the keystrokes reveal fear. But her email was jolting. She is a grandmother, her parents in their eighties- and still the thought of losing the first man she ever loved is reverting her to a girl.


My brother-in-law Manny, with his kids Justin and Sophia.


Eventually Isis pulled her son away from the powerful clutches of the Wii, aided by my husband. It was late, he had school the next day. She placed a little red retro Nike cap on his head, similar to one Will Smith wore back when he was still The Fresh Prince. "It's cute," I said. "Yeah, it's a gift from his father."

The two walked out, hand in hand, home.

*Isis is a pseudonym. Like "Dragnet" names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Author Claims Black Women Have The Church to Blame for Their Singlehood

Wow, this story definitely caught my attention. From Euroweb:

"*Dating expert, advice columnist and author Deborrah Cooper blasts traditional Black churches and charges that they are the root cause for the high numbers of single Black women in the U.S.

With all the media coverage (CNN, Nightline, NY Times, ABC) of the “plight” of the single black woman, and the blaming of Black women for being single, this author felt it past time to examine other reasons which could be important contributors to this sad statistic:

Black women have an inordinate amount of faith in both Black men and Black churches. My position is that such blind and unwavering faith in either is misplaced.

It is my belief that the Black church, structured around traditional gender roles which makes women submissive to and inferior to men, greatly limits females.

Single Black women sitting in church every Sunday are being subtly brainwashed, soothed and placated into waiting without demand for what they want to magically come to them. Who is doing this to Black women? The male standing at the front of the Church in the role of spiritual leader, that’s who!

This is the true reason that there are so many single, never married Black women in the United States – Black churches. Black women should abandon Black churches and focus more on themselves, their needs and those of their children than those of Black men or a religion which Black men use to castigate and control an entire race of women.

Single Black Females in Church

Black females have long been considered the backbone of the Black community and the cornerstone of their families and churches. But what is the real price Black women have paid to wear this crown of fool’s gold?

An examination of any congregation of the average Black church shows that single Black females fill the pews. Results of a recent study “African Americans and Religion” by the PEW Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life found that “African Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole.”

Almost 90% of Black Americans express “absolutely certain belief in God” compared to just over 70% of the total U.S. population. Two other important statistics gleaned from this survey: (1) 80% of Black Americans report that religion is “very important” in their lives as compared to 57% of the general U.S. population; and (2) 55% of Black Americans report that they “interpret scripture literally” as compared to 32% of the general U.S. population.

The PEW study also reported that “Men are significantly more likely than women to claim no religious affiliation. Nearly one-in-five men say they have no formal religious affiliation, compared with roughly 13% of women.”

The survey shows a distinct correlation between religion and social attitudes amongst African Americans. “African Americans who are more religiously observant (as defined by frequency of worship service attendance and the importance of religion in their lives), are more likely to oppose abortion and homosexuality, and more likely to report higher levels of conservative ideology.”

What Do The PEW Study Results Mean For Single Black Women?

They mean that:

  • Following the tenets of organized religion is not going to get you anywhere because men are generally not religious.
  • Going to church is not getting you the husband you seek.
  • Going to church is not making you more attractive and interesting to men.
  • Going to church is not where you are going to find eligible bachelors to date.
  • Going to church is not going to teach you to be fiscally responsible, investment savvy, or empower you to achieve greatness as a woman.
  • Going to church is not going to broaden your horizons, make you more tolerant and accepting of all God’s children, nor is it going to encourage you to be free of the chains of patriarchy and oppression of your feminine energy.

Going to church makes you a sheep, blindly following the mandates of a small group of men you have placed in your life in a position of power. Going to church makes you malleable and predictable, and narrows your thinking and thus limits your options.

Going to church for single Black women is a waste of time."

Waste of time? Dang! Well, I guess if women are only going to church to "get them a husband," uh, yeah, they are going to be sorely disappointed. It doesn't take statisticians and research analysts to see that there are far more women than men in the average church. But what does that mean, single gals should just hit up the clubs on Saturday nights and sleep in on Sunday mornings to get a ring? LOL! Yeah, because there are plenty of quality men at the club...

As for the church not teaching women to be more fiscally responsible, I think that's a dumb statement to begin with. I'd go to a financial planner for my finances- not my pastor. The church has been many things in the Black community historically, but times are a-changing, so I wouldn't necessarily connect the two. At many "Word of Faith" churches, there are unscrupulous ministers preaching a false gospel about getting rich, but those are who I label "Pulpit Pimps". While there is a connection, it's unfair to make it a reason to abandon church altogether. Simply leave THAT church. No one should be going to a church that is not Biblically sound anyway.

As for that last point, I get it. Just say "Most churches will tell you fornication, adultery and homosexuality are sins and will try to keep you chained to the kitchen, popping out babies and dressed like Harriet Tubman while remaining uneducated and ignorant." Oh brother. Look, considering there are a high number of churches that run the gamut from very conservative to very liberal, that statement is not only untrue but just stupid. It also ignores the fact many churches not only allow women to lead but ordain them as well (my grandmother has been the head pastor of a church for going on fifteen years now). Even at some of the most conservative churches, women are still found teaching Sunday school, playing instruments, singing and leading in and on choirs or involved in youth ministries. Since the Black church is not a monolith, making that point is unfair and misleading.

So if this author thinks the Black church is to blame and the Good Book ain't so great, where should single women turn? To her book, of course! CHA-CHING! *ROLLSEYES*

I didn't meet my husband in church, but at work. In fact, most of my married friends didn't meet their spouses in the Lord's house, either. But going to worship isn't supposed to be a Singles mixer. We're there to sing praises, learn to be better brothers and sisters (and that goes for the Sistas, too) in Christ, to grow closer to our Lord and each other.

As a PK (Preacher's Kid), I should probably be so traumatized that I shouldn't have it in me to do this, but I'm going to go ahead and write some positives that the Black church has done for the community. I guess most people figure as a preacher's kid, I should probably be off shooting icing from a bathing suit top in a video like Katy Perry, but eh, we're all different. So here goes:

  • The church has provided a place of welcoming and extended family for Blacks who were separated from their blood from slavery forward.
  • It has been a place of hope when this world offered little. Instead of labeling it as pie-in-the-sky mentality, believing in a Supreme Being who created all in His Image, no matter their shade, gave strength to a community that was told they were not even fully human.
  • The Abolitionist movement was mostly supported by, yes, that's right, Believers who recognized the evil of slavery.
  • For many poor children, their education came from their Sundays in church. My grandmother, who had to drop out of school at age 8 during the Great Depression, improved her reading and writing skills by going to church and taking notes. She improved her ability to speak when she would share in Bible study or testify.
  • Many families who didn't have a husband or father, for whatever reason, have been able to turn to the church for prayer, financial assistance, food and even a place to sleep.
  • Deep in the South (and all over), it was ministers and Church leaders who fought for Civil Rights, organizing sit-in's, marches and voter registration drives (uh, MLK, Jr., anyone?).
  • The Church has promoted stronger families, marriage, and children receiving an education. Considering nearly 80% of Black children are born out of wedlock in this country, and many of those children are brought up in low-income homes in the poorest school districts, I'd say an organization that supports and encourages a solid family is a very good thing.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. It's pretty sad that the media has come up with yet another reason why the "poor" Black women can't get or keep a man. It's her attitude, her hair, her weight, the deviance or mis-education of the Black man, gays, jail, money, White women, Latinas and now her church. How about the media do us all a favor and stop sensationalizing her "plight". I think it's about high time they recognized our fight. The power, a gift from God, to raise our children, work hard and to live with hope that tomorrow will be better.

“I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. . . . I do not weep at the world -- I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” ~Zora Neale Hurston

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Teacher Fired From Christian School For Premarital Sex: Right or Wrong?


The couple sat close together with her right hand clasped in his left hand and her left arm cradling the 8-month-old daughter whose conception cost the woman her job.

The couple’s sin, according to her former employer, Southland Christian School in St. Cloud, Fla., is fornication — having sex before they got married.

Jarretta Hamilton and her husband of 16 months, Samuel Treftz, told TODAY’s Ann Curry Monday that the termination violated federal anti-discrimination laws. In addition, they allege in a pending lawsuit, the school’s principal, Jon Ennis, invaded Hamilton’s privacy by telling other teachers and the parents of her students the exact reason she was fired.

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“When they let me go, they told the entire staff in a staff meeting that I had been fired and the reason why they let me go. And then they called all of my parents to my fourth-grade students and told them as well,” Hamilton said.

Ennis declined to appear on TODAY, citing a lawsuit filed by Hamilton against the school. But in a prerecorded report filed by NBC News’ Mike Taibbi, Ennis was asked if he stood by the firing. “Yes, absolutely,” he replied.

‘Didn’t know it would cost me my job’
Hamilton said her problems are all the result of her being honest. A widow with five children from her first marriage, she had gotten work as a teacher at Southland Christian School in January 2008. Meanwhile, she also met Treftz, and they planned a Feb. 20, 2009, wedding.

Three weeks before the wedding, she conceived her daughter, Sarah.

In April 2009, Hamilton and Treftz went together to Ennis and told him she would be taking maternity leave in the fall. She says Ennis first complained that it was difficult for the school to cover women on maternity leave.

“I was only requesting a standard six weeks maternity leave, and as the conversation progressed, he said, ‘I’m just trying to do the math here. When did you get married?’ ” Hamilton told Curry.

School principal Jon Ennis defends the teacher's firing on moral grounds.
“I said Feb. 20,” she continued. “He said, ‘Well, did you conceive prior to marriage?’ I answered and I told him, ‘Yes.’ ”

Hamilton said she answered partly because she was so surprised by the very personal question.

“I was absolutely shocked. It came out of nowhere. I was honest about it. I didn’t know it would cost me my job,” she said."

To read the whole article, click here. You can watch the report below.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

So, how do you feel about this story? Do you think the principal handled the situation appropriately? Should she have been fired even though she never signed a morality clause? Do you think she is wrong to sue? I want to hear your opinions!

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Nappy Roots

I was checking out hair tutorials and I found this two part series from Divinely Naptural on YouTube. To subscribe to her channel, click here.

I liked her videos because they were funny, encouraging and real. Plus, while she's happily natural, she's not judgmental or mean towards woman who aren't. Check them out:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" & its "Homoerotic Military Theme"

And lest, dear reader, you think I came up with that description of Gaga's new video, "Alejandro", let me provide the quote from the story:

"Topless men, a rubber-clad nun, androgyny, seductive dance moves and a pierced human heart? It's all part of a new music video that could only belong to Lady Gaga. Directed by fashion photographer Steven Klein, the nearly 9-minute long video for the singer's current single, "Alejandro," premiered Tuesday, featuring Gaga with a new cropped cut in a sequence of black-and-white images resembling both Madonna's "Vogue," "Express Yourself" and Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation."

But there's also signature Gaga touches as well. From the circular goggles to the black veil she dons as a grieving lover, the singer, 24, who told Larry King the video has a "homoerotic military theme," even goes topless towards the end of the video."

She's only 24? Really??? Wow. Okay, let me focus. Anyway, Gaga continues on the violence is sexy theme she had going in "Telephone" along with the homoeroticism, but this time switches out girl-on-girl action for the fellows. She still manages to get down and dirty with one of them in some scenes- while dressed as a nun in others. And can I just say, while I'm not Catholic, I think it's very low to take symbols prominent to their faith and desecrate them so. Deep-throating a rosary? WHY? Oh, how revolutionary, how anti-establishment- attacking the staid church so! *EYEROLL*

Anyway, here's the video, if you dare. But be forewarned. It's a shame really that this girl has talent yet its buried under all the freakiness.

UPDATE JUNE 9th: Fauxmosexual and Pastor's Kid Katy Perry has added her two cents on Gaga's new video. From HuffPo:

Lady Gaga's long awaited 'Alejandro' video came out Tuesday, and at least one person is not impressed. Katy Perry took to Twitter to air her issues with Gaga's use of Madonnaesque use of Catholic imagery:

'Alejandro' features Gaga dressed in a latex nun's habit, sucking on rosary beads and at the center of a gay orgy dressed in a crucifix-emblazoned robe with a cross over her crotch.
The teaser for Katy Perry's 'California Gurls' video, in which frosting shoots from her breasts, was also released Tuesday."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Minority Report:Black Man Shot To Death, Body Dragged in NC


"Two men who worked at a South Carolina poultry processing plant had spent most of the day together Tuesday, hanging out late into the evening, maybe rehashing their long shifts.

By the next morning, one of the men — who was black — was dead, shot to death and then dragged behind a pickup truck for more than 10 miles down a country road. The other — a white man — was in jail, charged with murder, and authorities were investigating the death as a possible hate crime.

"We've not been able to rule that out," Reggie Lloyd, chief of the State Law Enforcement Division, said Thursday. "You have to chase that down, as an angle of this."

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The FBI has been working with Lloyd's agency to sort out what led up to the shooting death of Anthony Hill, 30. South Carolina has no state hate crime statute, and federal authorities have not decided if they will take over the case.

The body of the former S.C. National Guard firefighter was found around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday on U.S. Highway 176 in Newberry, a town of about 11,000 in central South Carolina.

Killed by a gunshot wound to the head, authorities said Hill's body was tied to a pickup truck with nylon rope and dragged until it snapped, leaving his body in the roadway.

Tracing the bloody trail left by Hill's body, deputies were led to the home of Hill's 19-year-old co-worker, Gregory Collins. For several hours, Collins refused to come out of his mobile home, surrendering only after state police agents fired tear gas inside, Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said." To read the rest of the story, click here.

It's tragic that in this day and age, there are still stories like this happening. I pray God will help this country.

"Golden Girl" Rue McClanahan Passes Away at 76

They'll always be golden to me.

And then there was one. "Golden Girls" star Rue McClanahan passed away today from a stroke suffered on Monday. She was 76. From MSNBC:

"...She had undergone treatment for breast cancer in 1997 and later lectured to cancer support groups on "aging gracefully." In 2009, she had heart bypass surgery.

McClanahan had an active career in off-Broadway and regional stages in the 1960s before she was tapped for TV in the 1970s for the key best-friend character on the hit series "Maude," starring Beatrice Arthur. After that series ended in 1978, McClanahan landed the role as Aunt Fran on "Mama's Family" in 1983.

But her most loved role came in 1985 when she co-starred with Arthur, Betty White and Estelle Getty in "The Golden Girls," a runaway hit that broke the sitcom mold by focusing on the foibles of four aging — and frequently eccentric — women living together in Miami.

"Golden Girls" aimed to show "that when people mature, they add layers," she told The New York Times in 1985. "They don't turn into other creatures. The truth is we all still have our child, our adolescent, and your young woman living in us."

Blanche, who called her father "Big Daddy," was a frequent target of roommates Dorothy, Rose and the outspoken Sophia (Getty), who would fire off zingers at Blanche such as, "Your life's an open blouse."

Fellow "Golden Girl" Betty White called McClanahan a close and dear friend.

"I treasured our relationship," said White, who was working on the set of her TV Land comedy "Hot in Cleveland" on Thursday. "It hurts more than I even thought it would, if that's even possible."

McClanahan snagged an Emmy for her work on the show in 1987. In an Associated Press interview that year, McClanahan said Blanche was unlike any other role she had ever played."

To read the whole story, click here. To read some of Blanche's best lines, click here. She was definitely the forerunner for Kim Catrall's Samantha in "SATC".

Coming on the heels of Gary Coleman's sad death last week, it's definitely a sad time for 80's TV stars.

A Hair Raising Experiment: Going Natural for Two Weeks

Me smiling on a weekend trip to a flea market. My smile would fade by the next day, though.

A few weeks ago, I chatted with my friend Keyia about a number of things. Her life in Florida, her son Zade's (isn't that one of the coolest names ever?) upcoming preschool graduation, and finally, hair. Keyia went natural last year, hacking off her long relaxed locks. Since her hair grows like a weed, she already has hair that could be pulled up. I grilled her on hair products, styles and her experience. Her words of advice stuck with me, though: "If you're going to do it, make sure you have a lot of support because it's going to be hard." Girl ain't ever lie.

The next morning, I headed off to CVS and beelined it to the hair product aisle. "Hmm... let's see, ethnic, ethnic, ethnic" I repeated to myself, because these pharmacies always cram the Black hair care products under the heading of "ethnic", no matter how different they may be. I have also noticed such distinctions at Shoprites when we're looking for rice and beans. In the non-ethnic aisle live pastas and macaroni; on the ethnic side, every kind of Goya bean and rice sit next to Jamaican seasonings and racks of curry. For whatever reason, segregation is alive and well in stores. But anyway, upon finding the right section of hair products, I stood there confused. First, most of the products Keyia mentioned weren't even sold in the store. Even Pantene's Relaxed & Natural choices were pretty skimpy.

How my relaxed hair typically looks after a doobie. Although I usually wear in up or pulled into a ponytail. And no, I don't sit around taking pics in our car everyday. I just get bored waiting for K sometimes.

Second, most of the aisle was smashed full of relaxers. For fine, for thick, for extra coarse hair. For little girls and gray haired grandmommas and everyone in between. For girls who speak Spanish and French, for women who just want to texturize their tresses. But where's the conditioners for natural girls? I roamed back and forth, picking up jars of pomades. grease and oil sheens. Since my hair IS relaxed, I didn't want anything with alcohol, especially since my hair is also colored. That simple requirement eliminated a huge chunk of the products surprisingly. Good. Then a few were eliminated since they were for locs or dreads. Alright.... five minutes later, K comes back looking with a "What? Are you still looking for something?" I gave him a non-verbal "Yes, so buzz off" face, which sent him over to the snack aisle. In his defense, he had no clue I was looking to style my hair differently. The last few weeks, I had been skipping the salon. There was no malice involved. It's just that with the weather finally breaking, the thought of sitting in a salon for five hours for a deep condition and roller set made me nauseous. So I was washing it at home, then blow drying it straight, then pulling it into a neat little librarian's bun. This time, I was on a mission to not use the blowdryer and check out the results.

After what felt like forever (and must've seemed like I was stealing since an employee walked by to "straighten" the products), I left with a jar of gel (no alcohol, not the black gooey stuff or Jam, either, but still obviously ethnic) and a bottle of some leave in conditioner to bring out waves and curls (which sat in between the ethnic and non-ethnic products; I guess it's the Alicia Keys of hair mosturizers).

I went home, washed my hair and noticed my new growth was starting to get kinda long. Now my hair naturally is very thick and wavy. I wish it was a little less thick and curly (my sister has curls that look like spirals-cute). But I like my hair. It's dependable. Grows well. And stays in place. So I was optimistic about the results. I placed the Alicia Keys on the new growth hoping it would tame it a bit and prevent frizzies. I then slathered the ethnic gel on the relaxed parts, sometimes having to scrunch. I let it air dry slowly, watching bad TV to pass the time. It ended up like this:

As an added bonus, I had the Friday off! That alone could bring about such cheesing.

I was pleasantly surprised, feeling like... my little girl self. When K returned home after spending a couple of hours at the mall, he stared surprised at my transformation. I suddenly looked like an Island girl, and his Trini self was quite happy. I later saw my mom and grandma and they were pleased. This was echoed by my brother, sister and brother-in-law. I felt hot! Surprisingly to me, the waves remained. They just retracted and became poofier, like in the picture at the top of this entry. I was happy.

Until Monday. I went to work pulling half the bushy hair into a pony tail and leaving the other half out. To counter my wilder hair, I put on a white button down and a gray pencil skirt. No one seemed to notice the librarians duds, zooming in on my suddenly strange hair. I got some "Wow, that's cool" mixed with "Is that weave?" I shot a "What the..." look at them. Um, I've worked here for years. Was my same hair unstraightened THAT different? Obviously, yes. There was a clear divide, sadly. All of the West Indians loved it. The Latinos said it was nice and a good change. The whites were... okay, they were confused. Some thought I got a curly perm (lol). Or that it was weave. At any rate, I felt embarrassed by all the attention, and I quickly sent an email to Leila who runs the Black Girl Long Hair blog. I included pictures and asked for advice she wrote back: "Those women are probably just jealous. There's nothing wrong with your hair. You have a lot of length to it, which means you can always bun it as a last resort. Don't let a few co-workers determine how you will wear your hair. If your husband and your mother are on your side, then you've already won half the battle! "

She was right. What was I getting so worked up about? I decided to flaunt the natural look by spicing up my wardrobe with flea market jewelery finds. Turquoise stones, wooden pieces, over sized rings- why not? I started to regain my confidence. Until my Asian American boss admitted he hated the hair. "It looks like a duster," he said exasperated. "It's like the wool of a lamb or sheep. It's so... bushy!." I told him he was entitled to his opinion, but I disagreed. By the time I got home, I was back in the dumps. "How am I going to do this? This is what a lot of people think, but are afraid to say," I told K while washing dishes. "How do you feel?," he asked. I thought for a minute and said, "Well, I like it. I'm not sure if I'm off the creamy crack, but it's nice to have more time on my hands not sitting in the shop. And I love that you're actually touching my hair!" Hard to believe, but my husband doesn't touch my hair after I've been to the shop and it's been straightened. I ask him to play in it, but he's always reluctant. With the thick poof? He's happy and hands-on.

So I decided to have more fun again. I stuck an orchid in my hair for date night and let ocean air blow the waves wild.

Two weeks in, I don't know if I'm ready for an all natural Li, but I appreciate the loving support from my husband and friends like Lori, Keyia and Kandi. I'm also thrilled that my friend Ameerah has decided she is planning to stop relaxing her hair in a few months. I definitely know Keyia is right, though. If you're planning to do it, you'll need support. And it will be hard.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Excommunication Of Nun For Allowing Abortion Sparks Debate

I've been reading about this story on Catholic blogs for the last week or so, but it has burst on to the national scene, now being heavily covered by the secular media. First, let's see what an actual Catholic news site had to say about the story. From Catholic News Service:

"A nun who concurred in an ethics committee's decision to abort the child of a gravely ill woman at a Phoenix hospital was "automatically excommunicated by that action," according to Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix.

Mercy Sister Margaret Mary McBride also was reassigned from her position as vice president of mission integration at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix after news surfaced about the abortion that took place late last year. The hospital did not say what her new job would be.

The patient, who has not been identified, was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a condition that the hospital said carried a near-certain risk of death for the mother if the pregnancy continued.

"If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it. We are convinced there was not," said a May 17 letter to Bishop Olmsted from top officials at Catholic Healthcare West, the San Francisco-based health system to which St. Joseph's belongs.

But the bishop said in a May 14 statement that "the direct killing of an unborn child is always immoral, no matter the circumstances, and it cannot be permitted in any institution that claims to be authentically Catholic."

"We always must remember that when a difficult medical situation involves a pregnant woman, there are two patients in need of treatment and care, not merely one," Bishop Olmsted said. "The unborn child's life is just as sacred as the mother's life, and neither life can be preferred over the other."

Sister Margaret, who has declined to comment on the controversy, was on an ethics committee that was called to decide whether doctors could perform an abortion to save the mother's life. Catholic institutions are guided in making such decisions by the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services."

Bishop Olmsted cited a section of the directives that reads: "Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus) is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion."

But the Catholic Healthcare West officials, in their letter, asked Bishop Olmsted to clarify the directives, citing another section that reads: "Operations, treatments and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child." To read the whole story,
click here.

In light of that last paragraph, there does seem to be a need for clarification. Is it okay to terminate a pregnancy if the mother's life is at stake or not? This morning, the story appeared on "The Today Show".

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Meanwhile at Catholic site Commonweal, a writer questions if in this situation, an "abortion", in its truest form and definition was actually even performed.

"... We do not, however, intend every consequence caused by our action–even if we foresee they will occur. So, to take a homey example, if I take NyQuil, I intend to quell my cough, not to get buzzed. It’s the quelling that is a means to my future plans–a good night’s sleep–not the buzz. I accept getting buzzed as a foreseen but unintended side effect of taking medicine that is quelling my cough.

In most cases, the medical procedure called “abortion” involves the intent to kill the baby–that’s its purpose. There are some rare situations, however, where that is not the case. The immediate aim (object) of the procedure is simply to separate the baby from its dependence on the mother’s system, not to kill the baby, either as an end in itself or as a means to another end. The baby’s death does not contribute to the saving of the mother–only the separation does. If the baby lived after separation, everyone would rejoice. The baby’s death is not intended as either an ends or a means, but is accepted as a terrible side effect of the separation procedure. Is causing the baby’s death as a foreseen but unintended side effect fair? In some cases, this might be a difficult question. In a situation where both mother and baby otherwise would die, I think one could make a strong case that it is fair to go ahead with the procedure..." To read the whole story, click here.

What do you think?

Setting The Record Straight on Jersey

Believe it or not, New Jersey is not just full of Italian stereotypes.

In the opening of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey", Teresa makes a comment about how people make fun of Jersey girls because they're "jealous". As a life long Jersey girl, as much as I'd like to agree with that statement, I'm going to disagree. No, they're laughing at us because we're viewed as a joke.

We supposedly live in a state scrunched between the far more interesting locales of NYC and Philly, with little else than a maze of tore up, stinky highways like the Turnpike or the Parkway. That little else contains rich but classless suburbanites in gaudily decorated McMansions, a string of polluted yet overcrowded beaches full of obnoxious drunken twenty-somethings and... Newark. Yup, Newark. The hub of all East Coast crime. The place with that circling, confusing, no parking allowed airport. The ilk-fest with the chicken shacks, liquor stores and the cute Mayor who's always tweeting. Newark.

Well, let me tell you something. Those are stereotypes. And while they are... um, true, they are not THE only thing that makes up this state. So let me tell you a little more about my home state.

  • Most of us don't talk like that. Or tawk like dat. We don't all say "yous guys". Or "cawfee" (ok, I slightly do, but ONLY slightly). Really it's non-Jerseyans who pronounce it "Joisy." You see, as it turns out, what the nation believes is straight out of the Garden state is the result of Staten Islanders and Brooklynites making the migration over the bridge for a number of decades. It's not a horrible thing; my Dad's family left the Gowanus section of Brooklyn back in the 60's, and save for my Uncle Curtis, no one has high tailed it back over. They settled in to a nice home with a back yard, got a dog, made a life. And this story is the story of countless others. But please don't confuse the accents. The actual Jersey accent, while having an "aw" sound is not so strong or oppressive. Think of the extras on "Law & Order"- then dialing it back A LOT. And as for the "yous" thing- I won't make an excuse for that. In truth, I hear that often. It's just bad grammar. It's like Britney Spears' and Jessica Simpson's penchant for saying, "ya'll." They're from the South, so it stuck. The problem is the same, though. So here's a quick lesson: "you" can be singular AND plural. That's the English language, folks. No need to add an "s" or "all" or 'll".
  • New Jersey is not overrun with Italian-Americans. And the overwhelming majority of the ones who live here do not act like Tony Soprano's long lost cousins. Actually, New Jersey is pretty diverse. According to StateMaster, 29.2% of Jersey is foreign born of Asian descent, 4.6% are foreign born from Mexico, 13.1% are Black, and over 1.2 million of the state's over 8 mil population is Latino. (Click here for more) I don't even know why Italians are getting such a bad wrap lately. They seem to be TV's latest punching bag (I guess people tired of seeing entitled, no-talent celebutantes a la Paris Hilton and the cast of "The Hills"). So instead we see "guidos" and "guidettes" who are actually part Spanish or German, perpetrating. Could you imagine the uproar if a dark skinned Sicilian decided to "shuck-n-jive" it up pretending to be Black? You'd see Al Sharpton in front of a mike at a press conference declaring the wrong within minutes. So why is this okay? Anyway, Jersey is a mixed bag. I grew up with Polish, Jamaican and Mexican neighbors. And now? Most of my neighborhood converses en Espanol. Don't buy the hype.
  • Our hair is not that big. Snooki's poof aside, most girls around here, like the rest of the nation, let go of the 80's a long time ago. Sure, there are some who tease, hair spray or gel their hair to high heights, but those women are few and far between. And they are probably on the northern side of 50. And might just be your waitress with the husky-cigarette voice at the local diner. I'm just saying.
  • We aren't all rich. Yet, we aren't all poor. According to StateMaster, the median household income is $61,359.00. Not too shabby. But then, considering the amount of money we pay in income and property taxes, that's not all that, either. Throw in our high car insurance and high cost of living, and well, most of us are doing- okay. Forget the tony town of Franklin Lakes, most people are nestled in to places like Union, Cherry Hill or Woodbridge . And that's A-okay.
  • There is more to Jersey than going "down the shore". And yes, we do say shore instead of beach. I don't know why, but we do. You can go apple picking in the fall, hiking and camping on our trials in the spring and summer, and chop at cute boutiques all year round. And I'm not just talking places like Jersey Couture, either. I mean nice quiet, cozy shops. Or high priced stores in a mall like the one at Short Hills (and don't poo poo this place; the likes of Usher, Diddy and the Simmons clan all clean up here). Or visit a used bookstore, learn to make pottery, visit the state aquarium, check out the Liberty Science Center, Six Flags Great Adventure, or check out history at Ellis Island (uh, yes, it's in Jersey folks NOT New York).
  • There is more to Jersey than Newark. Or Camden. Or Elizabeth. But in all fairness, Newark has more to offer than what is depicted in the media. A gorgeous new stadium, world class universities (that's right, more than one), tons of stores and some of the best Portuguese food this side of the Atlantic, courtesy of the Ironbound section. In my opinion, you haven't done Jersey until you've eaten at a churrascaria. Rodizios will make you feel like royalty.
  • New Yorkers say we're lacking in style, but if that's true, why do so many of you take the trip through the tunnel or over the bridge to shop here? Why? Because our sales tax is lower than yours, that's why! Every Saturday and Sunday, the malls' parking lots are at capacity with cars with NY license plates. I see you hauling those cheaper flat screens, pieces of Ikea furniture and bags of clothing!
  • While only one of the 8 members of the Jersey Shore is actually from NJ, let me share with you some famous New Jerseyans, like Danny DeVito, Tom Cruise, Daisy Fuentes, Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Jon Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, Jon Stewart, Joe Pesci, Steven Spielberg, Bruce Springsteen, the late Frank Sinatra, Meryl Streep, Antonin Scalia, Lauryn Hill, Brian Williams and Jaheim... and of course, I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
In closing, New Jersey isn't bad. We're special, yes, (and I do mean that in a short bus kind of way) but we're awesome. And if you really came to know us, you might just be a little jealous. Potholes, pollution, pandering politicos and all.
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