Friday, October 29, 2010

Trick? Nah, This is A Treat.

How Old is Too Old to Trick or Treat?

I was talking to my friend Branden a few days ago, and he was sharing scary tales of past Halloweens, of knocks on his front door, of large, tall looming figures of fright. Also known as teenagers.

"They were about 6 feet tall... huge. Wearing no costumes, but holding bags. Some of them even had mustaches and beards!"

Branden's experiences isn't unique. I had noticed at 13 there were quite a few kids knocking on my front door who were older than me, which struck me as odd. And corny. Now it seems, the overgrown Trick or Treaters are a problem nationwide, and one town has struck back with a ban. From NBC:

How old is too old?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Confirmed: Mariah Carey is Pregnant. Now Leave Her Alone.

After months- no who the heck am I kidding, years- of speculation, Mariah Carey announced her pregnancy on the "Today Show" this morning. From Huff Po:

"Mariah Carey is going to have to add lullabies to her repertoire.

The superstar singer confirmed on NBC's "Today" show Thursday that she and husband Nick Cannon are expecting their first child. Carey says the baby is due in the spring.

Carey had declined to discuss her pregnancy, the subject of rampant speculation for months, until now.
"Yes, we are pregnant, it's true," she said in an interview with "Access Hollywood's" Billy Bush that was shown on "Today."

"It's been a long journey, but it's been tough because I've been trying to ... hold on to a shred of privacy, and that was not easy."

Carey, 40, and Cannon, 30, have been the subject of a baby watch since they got married after a whirlwind romance two years ago.

They laughed off the rumors when they occurred soon after their wedding.
"We thought it was fun, because they kept saying, 'Oh she's pregnant.' Yeah, whatever. So we took the test and it was positive," she said.

But Carey had a miscarriage soon afterward.

"It was really sad, so we really had to absorb this and take it in," she said.

Cannon hailed his wife's strength for being able to laugh in front of the cameras, but later, "crying herself to sleep."

Bush said that Carey told him the baby was conceived naturally, and added that the couple does not know the sex of the baby."

Okay, this announcement should surprise exactly no one. So I'll skip that. I would like to offer a big congratulations to the couple (Baby, YAY!). I also would hope bloggers, paparazzo and gossip hounds would do exactly opposite of what they're foaming at the mouth to do: LEAVE THEM ALONE.

Mariah has long been one to flaunt her ample assets, flutter around like the butterflies she so adores and flash a grin at any camera pointed within seemingly a mile of her pretty little face.

But she clearly desires privacy when it comes to certain things, thus her whirlwind courtship with Nick and her secret island wedding. Remember those pics splashed across the tabloids a couple of years back were released after they said "I Do" and the ink on their celebratory marital tattoos had long dried.

 A post wedding beach kiss- showing off one of the tats.

Now with this announcement- and the admission of a heartbreaking miscarriage- Mariah has revealed once again there are some things in her very public life she deems private. And while I have heard a number of people complain for months now about why she won't just admit it (they were also the same ones annoyed with Alicia Keys' silence about her pregnancy and relationship), I ask why should she have to "admit" anything to us, the public? Is pregnancy or engagement, marriage, a move, a fight or even a divorce some type of indictment which should force celebrities to appear before the court of public opinion to make a plea of innocence or guilt? Well, maybe in Charlie Sheen's case, he might want to plead "mental incompetence" or just straight "insanity".

When I gained weight last year, and some nasty co-workers pressed me to answer the preggers questions, I made up my mine that when I do become pregnant, I'd make my announcement when me and K see fit to do so. Which is in our own time. And even though I do not know Mariah or Nick, I won't question why they chose now to announce it. Because in my opinion, if they wanted to wait until the kid was receiving a degree from Harvard, it's their prerogative to do so.

So please do them a favor- don't be a "Crybaby"-be sweet as "Honey", a real "Babydoll"- LEAVE THEM ALONE.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Celebrating All Saints on Halloween Sunday

On Sunday, while visiting an Anglican church, I noticed in their bulletin that next Sunday, after service, there would be a special event for kids. The pastor of the church, Pastor Ros, later explained there would be an "All Saints Party with treats" for children in attendance on the 31st. He made sure to emphasize, "This is NOT a Halloween party, folks, but for All Saints, which is actually on Monday."

The decision to have All Saints events instead of celebrating Halloween is an option for many, especially this year, with the ghoulish holiday falling on the holy day. From RNS:

While ghouls, witches and wizards run door-to-door for treats this Halloween, St. Michael, St. Patricia and St. Lawrence will swap candy in their basement, sharing stories of their heroic exploits. 

One child, wrapped in toilet paper, sticks out from the rest, not because he’s an Egyptian mummy but rather St. Lazarus, the dead man raised to life in the Gospel of John. 

The festivities are part of an All Saints’ Day party hosted at the Bowie, Md., home of Sam Fatzinger, a Catholic mother of 12, who wanted a more sacred alternative to Halloween. 

“It’s all about having fun in your faith. Just being a Christian and Catholic isn’t something to be embarrassed about,” she said. “We make faith come alive.” 

Fatzinger said the tradition started because the first neighborhood they lived in wasn’t the safest, but also because they wanted to highlight the religious aspects of the holiday. 

Halloween, after all, was first known as All Hallows’ Eve, the night before All Saints’ Day, when Christian churches commemorate all the known and unknown saints and martyrs. 

This year especially, some families question whether it is appropriate to revel in ghouls and goblins since Halloween falls on a Sunday, the first time since 2004. Some will move Halloween celebrations altogether, to Saturday, to avoid Sunday conflicts with church. Some churches will provide more wholesome activities, such as “trunk-or treating” or harvest festivals. 

Delor Baumann, the mayor of Hueytown, Ala., started asking residents several weeks ago to shift trick-or-treating to Saturday night to avoid conflicts with churches. 

“Some people may go out trick-or-treating on Sunday night, but the majority of the people may not,” Baumann said. “This (Saturday) is just the most respected day to do it. Saturday night and Halloween go together.” 

The Yorktown Church of the Nazarene in Indiana welcomes families to its “Hallelujah Harvest,” a trick-or-treating alternative that includes a drama with 16 stations depicting biblical scenes, and candy for children. 

Janice Blankenbaker, the coordinator of the event, said it began as an effort to keep children safe during Halloween, and she was bothered by dark, gruesome Halloween costumes. 

“There ought to be something the church can do,” she said, noting that the church festival still welcomes children “in their little costumes...” 

To read the entire article, please click here.

Facing Domestic Violence in the Church: One Women's Story

From Crosswalk:

From Flower Girl to Fair Lady: Freedom from Domestic Violence

Marie Barlow Martin Guest Contributor

"Note: Watching her on stage, no one knew that singer/actress/musical theater star Marie Barlow Martin was an abused spouse.  But the reality is, domestic violence happens even in seemingly-stable Christian marriages. Now years later, re-married to producer/songwriter Gordy Martin, Marie has dedicated her talents to singing inspirational praise & worship music and helping women find the courage to tell their secrets. 

Of all the roles I have played in my career in musical theater, my favorite role was that of Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady."  When Eliza exclaims, "The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves but how she is treated," I knew exactly what that meant.  Because at the time I became Eliza on stage, at home, I was living as the victim of domestic abuse.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I have a burden for women who share my story.  Statistics are startling, but having lived through it, not surprising.  On average, a woman in the United States is battered by a partner every 12 to 15 seconds.  Up to six million women are believed to be beaten in their homes each year.  And over thirty percent of all homicides of women in America are committed by intimate partners. 

I have vivid flashbacks of the nights of terror, wondering at times if I would live or die - often wishing for the latter.  Spending nights hiding in my locked car - huddled in the back - the safest place I could find.  Praying out loud to God --as violent hands gripped tightly around my neck - that He would send his mighty angels to protect me in that moment of surrender to my assailant.

I had not told anyone of my circumstance, and looking back now, I realize what a mistake that was.  But the chaos of such a life began to seem normal.  And I began to believe that I didn't deserve better treatment - that I was worthless and that it was somehow my fault.  The most influential and important voice in my life at the time was telling me I was nothing but a lowly flower girl... and I believed it.  And in virtual isolation, who was I to tell?  Who would believe me anyway?  After all, my husband and I faithfully attended bible study and fellowship several days a week.  He was liked by everyone.  To the few who knew us in public, we were a fine pair, yet in the privacy of our darkness, we kept the secret locked away. 

I remember in the middle of rehearsals for a Gilbert & Sullivan production, my husband was in such a rage that he cracked one of my ribs.  I covered it up.  I wrapped my ribs as tight as possible so I could stand and breathe correctly enough to hit the high notes.  Although I was in terrible pain, the show went on.  My husband was sorry, and my secret was kept...

... on the occasion of National Domestic Awareness Month, I want to talk directly to women who are living in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship. TALK ABOUT IT! There is power in sharing what is happening to you. It doesn't matter who you share it with - a pastor, a counselor, a friend, a family member or even a stranger. When you share your struggles, you become stronger, and you are able to see things in a different way.

The power of the abuser is to isolate you so that you will remain weak and under his or her control. The way to counter that is to come out of isolation. Shame keeps you in seclusion, but the shame should not be on you. My personal faith in a living God who loved me and wanted the best for me, gave me the strength to get out of that pit of loneliness and despair and gave me the shelter I so desperately longed for... 

f you are living in an abusive relationship, I beg you to hear God's voice speaking through me directly to you today. Follow me out! You are a Fair Lady, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of almighty God. You can be free of your fears. You are loved, you are cherished. Find help today. God has a better life awaiting you."

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Twenty Questions: October 26, 2010

1.) Kanye just released the epic video for "Runaway." And I do mean, EPIC. So have you actually been able to sit through the ENTIRE thing straight?

2.) Do you think it's fair convicted rapist Mike Tyson was allowed to star in "The Hangover", but cast and crew shot down not-convicted but probably should be committed actor Mel Gibson's cameo in the sequel?

3.) Okay, so "The Simpsons" are not Catholic. But what the heck is a "Presbylutheran"? Not to be nitpicky, but Presbyterians are Calvinists while Lutherans are of the Arminian strain. Which means they are not close to being the same.

4.) You do know that last question was NOT referring to Armenian like the Kardashians, right?

5.) Isn't it crazy Michael Jackson made more money in the last year than any celebrity- dead or alive?

6.) So in France,there is a ban on the burka. But do you know in one Italian town, there might be a ban on miniskirts?

7.) Because the Moon is sooo 20th century, China is making plans to get to Mars. But do you believe they'll make their target date of 2013?

8.) Who do you think hit the one billion mark for views on YouTube first- Justin Beiber or Lady Gaga?

9. Do you think that last question is a sign of the coming Apocalypse?

10.) Are you mourning the loss of the Psychic Soccer Octopus?

11.) Do you think NPR was right to give Juan Williams the heave-ho for his comments about feeling nervous when seeing people in Muslim garb on planes?

12.) Does Juan know the 9-11 Terrorists weren't rocking Muslim garb when they hijacked those planes? Terrorists can shop at Target, too.

13.) Hey Fellows! Are you surprised women are more charitable than you? I'm not. :-)

14.) "It's the end of the world as we know it!" Or, maybe not, despite the ever popularity of Gaga and Beiber. Looks like those Mayan Calendar/End of the World calculations might just be off. Surprised?

15.) Is Charlie Sheen literally becoming his "Two & A Half Men" character? And if so, where is Alan to come help?

16.) Should I be offended as a life long Jersey girl that millions of people are going to go "Jersey" for Halloween this year?

17.) Do you think that last question is a sign of the coming Apocalypse? Or just the dumbing down of America?

18.) For all you non-Jerseyans reading this, do you REALLY think this is how we dress? Really?

19.) Okay, so I get between 80 and 120 hits on average on this site. Why is it that only Don, Alan, Yazzy, April, Gary and Carlos really comment?

20.) Are the rest of you reaaaaaaalllllly shy? Because I'd like to hear from you. Also thanks to Erin aka "The Red Cardigan", Joe and K, since I see you all, too. <3

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Smoker in Chief: Bama Cigarettes

Um, Yeah. From MSNBC:

"And Because of The Angels"

A woman wearing a mantilla, a Christian headcovering.

When I was working on a story recently about France's crackdown on conspicuous religious symbols in public schools, I stumbled upon some interesting blogs and articles written by Christian women who cover their hair for religious reasons.

This is nothing new to me. I grew up belonging to a conservative Pentecostal church, and modesty was crucial. Although it was never explicitly stated women should cover their head when they attended worship, many did with big, beautiful hats. The teaching comes from Paul's writings in I Corinthians 11:

"And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head."

Our church often had joint/fellowship services with other congregations, and I remember women and girls having a piece of lace fabric pinned onto their hair. I recall thinking it was both strange and beautiful.

In college, I visited my best friend Giddel's Christian Brethren church where nearly all of the women wore what I use to describe as "the big doily things" since they looked like the doilies both of my Grandmothers displayed on their antique wood furniture. Some had them pinned right on to the crown of their heads, but Giddel's mother Ronnie, had a much more beautiful one. It was long and elegant, and could easily double as a shawl. I would later learn the proper name- "mantilla". I knew most chicks my age would laugh at the prospect of wearing something on their head because of the "angels" and all out scoff at that "authority" part altogether. Yet for some reason, Ronnie, and Giddel, and our friend Martha (also in her 20's), looked nothing short of beautiful to me.

Most Christian women no longer follow the practice of covering their heads (well, except for in cold or inclement weather) for a few reasons. First, the practice fell out of practice post Vatican II in Roman Catholicism, the largest Christian church. Over on the Protestant side of the cross, with the rise of nondenominational/evangelical churches and the modernization of mainline churches, women tossed the scarves and hats, too. Nowadays, most women only wear them for fashion, if at all. Even within some of the more conservative churches, many women take the above passage to mean their hair is their actual covering, so they don't or hardly ever cut their hair.

Many Christians take the passage above to be a cultural prescript to the Corinthians of that day. After all, many men wear long hair today, and many women, short. Since in many societies there is no shame to this, then the admonishment to cover is not for today. I've seen some women pull up a scarf or shawl at church ONLY during prayer, reading a Scripture or maybe even Communion, only to yank it down the minute she steps out of the sanctuary.

However, the blogs I found, like Free To Cover, written by a married, Orthodox mom named Alana, are advocating a return to the traditional. Not just to cover at church, either, but full time. She writes:

"You say that wearing a headcovering is a form of bondage?

I say it is an expression of my freedom in Christ.

You say that it oppresses women.

I say that it reminds me of the stole draped over my head when receiving the prayer of absolution after making confession.

You say that it is only "cultural" and does not apply to today.

I say, neither does turning the other cheek make sense in our culture. Neither does "blessed are the poor in spirit". Neither does "blessed are the meek".

You say your head is your own.

I say that I gave my head to Christ.

You say your hair is your glory and your covering.

I say that I can neither make my hair, make it grow, or keep it from falling out. Only my creator can do that.

The only things I can do with my hair are let it grow, cut it off, color it, or cover it. I have done all these things. But now I cover it.

What does this all mean? A question I have asked myself many times as the years have gone by. What does it mean that the husband is the head of the wife? Kephale in the Greek. Source. Submission. Harmony. And husbands love your wife as Christ loved the Church. Perhaps it is more than a "headship" covering. Perhaps it is a revolutionary statement. For more than just myself.

What does it mean, "on account of the angels"? Oh, to serve God with the purity of an angel!

For whatever reason, this will not leave me alone.

I do not belong to myself..."

Still, other young Christian women are embracing the veil, too- at least while worshiping. Cordelia, writing for Catholic Phoenix chimed in:   

"Growing up in the diocese of Phoenix, I never thought I would see the day when chapel veils would resurface, especially during a liturgical procession...

Even though we don’t have to wear the mantilla anymore, I’ve noticed that some women want to. Depending upon which parish you are at, you may see one or several ladies graced in lace at a regular Sunday morning mass. The ladies I have seen are mostly under forty. I bet some of you reading this post are guilty of being veil-curious, and maybe even own one, buried in the back of your sock drawer.

Can it be that more women are unleashing their inner bride and donning the mantilla at mass?

For years I resisted the mantilla... maybe a hat, if anything. But eventually, about a year ago, I decided to “pin one on”—and I have not stopped wearing it since..." 

What say you, Dear Readers? Do you think it's necessary? Even if you don't, how do you feel about those who do? Old fashioned? Strange? Nice? By the way, women within groups as diverse as the Jehovah's Witnesses to some Baptists all practice some form of head covering to different degrees.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blog Repost: What Happened to Miss Independent? She Became Mrs. De Freitas!

What’s in a name? Everything to some, based on a number of critically biting comments I’ve received since changing my name to “De Freitas” after tying the knot last autumn. It might not be the new millennial, pro-women thing to do, but I had always known I’d do this since I was a little girl. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, I was well aware that it was no longer a societal requirement to do so. There were plenty of women who opted to maintain the name they had since birth. Some did so because they were established in their profession and had become well-known by their maiden name. Others had adapted a more modern feminist stance that they didn’t need to shed their name for a man’s—despite the fact that most had their father’s surname.

Still others kind of split the difference by use of the very politically correct hyphen, like “Ms. Mary Jones-White” or “Jessica Smith-Hall”. This seemed a plausible solution that could appease both the traditionalists and feminists. Having two names can actually sound quite privileged to me, even stately. So why didn’t I choose this option B? Well, one reason, to be frank, is that having “Alisha Flemming-De Freitas” would’ve just been too wordy. Try fitting that 23 letter behemoth on a driver’s license or bank card. How about taking the time to scribble that every time I made a check card purchase. And the spelling? Forget about it! I already grew up having people assume my name was spelled “Alicia Fleming,” which are the more common spellings. However, my mom opted for “A-L-I-S-H-A” because she thought it sounded phonetically correct. Turns out, I prefer the Indian origin meaning of it better than the European “Alicia” anyway.

As for Flemming, well, who knows why some ancestor thought it better to have two “m’s” as opposed to one. It is what it is. I never liked it too much as a child. I’ll never forget Clem McIntyre’s middle school tease of “Phlem-ing.” He would pronounce it while half coughing and then clearing his throat. It was a popular and disgusting nickname that popped up repeatedly through high school graduation. Believe me, I was never enamored of a last name that induced thoughts of mucus and bronchitis. I often pondered why I couldn’t have had my mother’s common (and middle school approved) maiden name of “Williams”. I vowed to myself (ok, and to my entire family repeatedly) that I would drop the offensive “Phlem-wod” name (another 6th grade hit) for “Alisha Williams” when I became a famous writer as an adult. While I did do a few freelance articles, I never attained any kind of fame (well, my Mom and K think I’m a star) and I used “Flemming” for the writing credit.

Despite my childhood dislike of the name, I achieved much as a “Flemming”. Winning academic awards, a tween beauty pageant, being a cheerleader, having my first kiss, first boyfriend, the Prom, high school and college graduation…. Years, memories, laughter, tears… all as “Miss Flemming”. Adventures and misadventures, my journey under my birth moniker has been a true learning and growing experience.

Yet when Miss Alisha D. Flemming, full of past hurt, present joy and future hope, took my Knight’s ring and promise of fidelity and enduring love on our wedding day, I accepted his name, with the true honor it bestowed on me. Kelly Clarkson’s song could’ve been me:

Miss independent

Miss self sufficient

Miss keep your distance…
Miss don't let a man interfere, no

Miss on her own

Miss almost grown

Miss never let a man help her off her throne
In marrying Keiron, he not only swept me off my feet, but actually seated me on a new throne. No longer a princess, I became his queen.

So, by keeping her heart protected

She’d never ever feel rejected

Little miss apprehensive
As my love for him has grown, the fear caused by past hurts has subsided, along with apprehension. I no longer have to keep up a wall around my heart. He guards it valiantly, protecting it with his all.

What happened to Miss independent

No longer need to be defensive

Goodbye old you when love
when love is true...

With “I do”, I bid goodbye to Miss Flemming. Not with feelings of loss, either. Like the completion of a chapter, I turned the page. Memories intact, lessons learned… not all tied up in a neat package, of course. Nevertheless, on October 24, 2008, I finished being a Flemming, and wrapped myself in De Freitas.

So despite the negative comments I’ve received from overly critical co-workers and associates intent on sharing their opinion that I’ll always be a “Flemming,” I am Alisha De Freitas. And it fits me much better than Miss Independent ever did.

(You can see Kelly Clarkson's "Miss Independent" here.)

Note: This post originally appeared on April 21, 2009. I'm reposting it today in honor of me and K's second anniversary.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Obama Voodoo?

I was looking for a Mother Teresa tee a few days ago online, and surprisingly found it harder to find a cute affordable one. So I was clicking through page after page of so-so's until I stumbled upon a website called "". Here are samples of some of their products:

The Obama/Hitler two face tee, with Proverbs chapters.

The O-Bama Nation Stress Doll which resembles a misshapen tan Dracula to me.

And just in time for Halloween, the Obama/Nancy Pelosi/Osama Bin Laden triple team of horror tee. I guess he is a vampire.

Eh. While that was quite interesting, perhaps someone could suggest a good site for me to actually purchase a Mother Teresa tee? Thanks.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Taiwenese Woman Set To Marry... Herself

She'll wait for no man!

Narcissism thy name is Chen Wei-yih. From Reuters:

"Chen Wei-yih has posed for a set of photos in a flowing white dress, enlisted a wedding planner and rented a banquet hall for a marriage celebration with 30 friends.

But there is no groom. Chen will marry herself.

Uninspired by the men she's met but facing social pressure to get married, the 30-year-old Taipei office worker will hold the reception next month in honour of just one person.

"Age thirty is a prime period for me. My work and experience are in good shape, but I haven't found a partner, so what can I do?" Chen said.

"It's not that I'm anti-marriage. I just hope that I can express a different idea within the bounds of a tradition."

Her T$50,000 (3,600 pound) wedding comes after online publicity that has netted 1,800 largely sympathetic comments.

"I think there will be more and more girls like this," said "divagirl," who did not elaborate.

Taiwanese women are marrying later and less often as their economic status advances, fuelling government concerns about a drop in the birth rate and its impact on productivity.

Only 40 percent of women surveyed earlier this year by the education ministry said they imagined married people could live better than singles, local media said.

"I was just hoping that more people would love themselves," said Chen, who will go on a solo honeymoon to Australia."

To read the article in its entirety, click here. The article's title is "In Defiance of Tradition, Taiwan Woman Marries Self." Isn't this in defiance of SANITY? Why couldn't she just have a big 30th birthday bash and sit down someplace? Instead, she's spending thousands for a wedding with no partner. Yeah, okay... I'm sure that will bring Mr. Right straight to her door.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Eleven Year Old Cheerleader Kicked Off Team for Refusing to "Shake Her Booty"

From Fox News:

An 11-year-old Nebraska girl has been kicked off her cheerleading squad after complaining to her coach that she didn't want to "shake her booty," the girl's mother told

Sabrina Frampton said her daughter, Fayleen, was told last week that she was no longer part of a junior cheerleading squad in Ashland, Neb., after objecting to one of the Blue Jays' 40-plus cheers.

"She had mentioned to the coach earlier in the year that she didn't like it," Sabrina Frampton said. "She felt it didn't have anything to do with the team as far as offense and defense goes. Being the older girl on the squad this year, she felt a little more uncomfortable shaking her booty than the other girls."

Frampton said her daughter's fourth year on the team of girls -- ages 5 to 12 -- was cut unnecessarily short due to her concerns about one of the cheers that included the phrase: "Jump, shake your booty, jump, jump, shake your booty."

Frampton continued, "When she spoke up, the coach said that was not her decision to make."

The volunteer coach, Toni Harris, later told the girl on Oct. 11 that she was no longer welcome on the team for its remaining two games, Frampton said.

"I was infuriated at how she disrespected Fayleen and sent my daughter home in tears," she said. "That didn't sit well with me as a parent."

Aside from having to console a dejected daughter, Frampton said she's now out a "couple hundred dollars," the cost of multiple team uniforms.

"It gets kind of pricey, even at this age group," she said.

Harris, who could not be reached for comment, told the cheer is a crowd-pleaser and that she had never received any prior complaints."

Okay, so the minute she gets a complaint, from a member of the team no less, she just rejects it? Yes, I suppose most people nowadays think it's just adorable to see their first grader shake it like a Polaroid picture. *Rollseyes*

Yay! Kohl's Yanked The "Ghetto Fab" Wig!

I just wrote about this, and I am super happy the protests were not in vain. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: 

"Kohl's Corp. pulled a curly wig from its online Halloween offering this week after customers were offended by the "Ghetto Fab" name for the product. Sears and Kmart followed suit after hearing of the controversy.
The wig was part of an extensive array of costumes that Kohl's is selling online. The merchandise is shipped directly to customers from Buyseasons Inc., a New Berlin online custom retailer, as part of a wholesale program described in an article Tuesday in the Journal Sentinel.

The wig sparked an uproar on Kohl's Facebook page Monday. Customers were offended by the name and shocked that Kohl's would carry an item described that way.

"We are both embarrassed and apologize for the offensive nature of the merchandise description," said Kohl's senior vice president of public relations Vicki Shamion.

"Once it came to our attention, the item was removed from our website immediately. We take full responsibility for Kohl's messaging, and rest assured it in no way reflects the values of our company which we work hard to embrace in all aspects of our business every day. We have sent personal apologies to our customers and hope they will continue to give us the opportunity to serve them in a professional, respectful manner."

To read the whole story, click here.

I'm a happy nappy chica now!

The Brazilian Blowout: Straight Hair Via Formaldehyde

I recently read on a hair blog about how the popular Brazilian Treatment- no not the bikini zone one- can place users at risk for harm. Known as the Brazilian Blowout, it uses chemicals to straighten frizzy, curly, poofy and kinky strands. I've been seeing signs at local Dominican Doobie shops in my neighborhood for a couple of years now. At one shop, I was encouraged to try it as an alternative to my usual relaxer with assurances it was much safer and healthier for my hair. I had to admit I was impressed by the pictures, but I wasn't buying how a relaxer, by any name, would somehow be great, and I turned it down.

This year I said goodbye to all creamy crack, and just as I expected, the Brazilian Blowout is chock full of chemicals- including formaldehyde. Yup, this Blowout blows. From MSNBC:

“Suffer for beauty” has been taken to a whole new level with recent controversy surrounding a trendy hair treatment called the Brazilian Blowout. 

The product, used in pricey salons, turns frizzy, unmanageable locks into the luxurious pin-straight looks made popular by celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow. 

The catch? Tests conducted by the state of Oregon earlier this month determined that the product contains unsafe levels of formaldehyde — as in, embalming fluid — a known carcinogen. 

But that’s not deterring some from the pursuit of fabulous wash-and-wear locks. 

“Chemicals are a way of life now,” says Stefeny Anderson, a 36-year-old event planner from Renton, Wash., who got her first Brazilian Blowout two weeks ago in an effort to tame “corkscrew curls” that frizz at the slightest hint of rain (a given in Washington state). “It’s not like you’re putting it in your hair every day.” 

Introduced at salons a few years ago, the Brazilian Blowout costs about $250. But after the two-hour treatment — which involves coating the hair with the chemical, then flat-ironing it — coarse, kinky hair becomes soft, smooth and straight for two to three months. 

Sort of an anti-perm, the Brazilian Blowout has been touted as more effective and less time-consuming than other hair-straightening methods such as conventional relaxers, Japanese thermal processing or other keratin-based treatments (there are several available), although concerns have been raised about the product’s possible formaldehyde content in the past, when Allure magazine did an exposé.

These concerns soon dissipated, though, once the company began distributing bottles labeled “formaldehyde-free.”

Formaldehyde-and-seek Earlier this month, though, Oregon Health & Science University issued two public alerts after tests performed by the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found up to 10.6 percent formaldehyde in the product (.2 percent formaldehyde is considered safe by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel). 

Brazilian Blowout responded with a press release Oct. 8 saying the Oregon tests were incorrect. "Flaws in the testing methods used by Oregon’s division of OSHA actually cause the creation of additional formaldehyde that is not normally found in the product," the press release said. The company also issued a statement saying that formaldehyde gas levels emitted during the hair-straightening process are safe for both clients and cosmetologists.

In other tests a couple of weeks ago, Canada's health department found up to 12 percent formaldehyde and warned people to stop using it, citing consumer complaints of “burning eyes, nose, and throat, breathing difficulties, and one report of hair loss associated with use of the product.”

To read the entire story, click here. This story isn't surprising to me, but it is disturbing to read that women like Stefeny are so cavalier about exposing themselves to carcinogens for the sake of straight strands. It reminds me of my neurologist's warning to quit relaxing my hair because of the possible toxic poisoning. To each their own, but I know if I want my hair straight, I'll just take the flatiron sans the cancer-causing serum, thank you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Texas Church: We've Been a "Bunch of Jerks"

From Q:

"In a fit of honesty or perhaps confession, a Christian church in Texas admitted last week that they’ve been anything but Christian. Christ Covenant Church in Beaumont, Texas purchased a prominent billboard on which they posted the following message: “What a bunch of jerks!”

As the church’s website declared:

The church has failed. That’s right; we’ve messed up, big time. The church was SUPPOSED to be a reflection of the God it claimed to serve. The church was SUPPOSED to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. But, for the most part, the church has failed.

Our failure has left a bad taste in people’s mouths. Our mistakes have led to a lack of credibility. Our messes have caused people to seek answers for this life elsewhere. And really, who could blame people for giving up on the church? Ghandi had a very good point when he said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

. . . At Christ Covenant Church, do you know what our response is? Guilty as charged."

...Our research confirms what the billboard attempts to acknowledge. The majority of young people in America indeed view Christians as judgmental, hypocritical, anti-gay, and too political, among other things. If the old proverb that “confession is the first step to repentance” then this may be more than a billboard off I-10 eastbound. It may be a sign that believers in a state where traditional Christianity still dominates are waking up to our post-Christian reality."

To read the whole story, click here

To read more on this subject, check out these stories:

When Christians Get It Wrong

The New Face of American Evangelicalism

Losing Our Religion: Generations X & Y at Q

Five Things I Hate About Us

Girls... Wait, Scratch That... Brides-to-be Gone Wild

I was talking with my brother Joe recently when he asked me if I had heard about the male stripper who performs at Bachelorette parties... wearing a large oversized bear head. Here's how the convo went, to the best of my memory, lol:

Joe: Oh my God, what is wrong with women today?

Me: What NOW, Joe.

Joe: have you heard about the rich, elite women hiring some stripper to perform at their Bachelorette parties? But get this, the guy is nude except for a teddy bear head.

Me: What? What are you talking about?... Really, huh?

Joe: A male stripper...

Me: No, no, I heard what you said, but I don't get it! That's weird! Why does he wear a teddy bear head?... Actually that's disturbing...

Joe: No, it gets more disturbing. They perform sex acts on him! Like he's a toy. It's disgusting. And then they actually have sex with him AND it's recorded...

Me: WHAT? What about STDs? And why would they record it? And why the bear head? That is so disturbing on so many levels... Wait, how do YOU know about this?

Joe: It's all over the internet. These women all want to be like... the next Kim Kardashian. They don't care. Their faces aren't blurred, they use names...

Me: (With a very screwed up face) But why would they do that? What about their fiances? Their families? Jobs? And why a be...

Joe: ALISHA, THEY JUST DON'T CARE ANYMORE. THESE WOMEN ARE WORSE THAN MEN. Go see for yourself. Check it out. (Walks away).

Me: (To myself) But WHY? A bear head...

Again, it went something like that. Anyway, after I got over my horrid visions of a Chippendale Teddy Ruxpin, I really started thinking about how twisted things have become. Women use to rant about the perverse events which occurred at Bachelor parties. I saw plenty of "Ricki Lake" and "Jerry Springer" episodes back in the day devoted to detailing the debauchery. Now things have flipped to the point many guys keep it low-key while the ladies act a hot mess. From Fox News:

Call it "Bachelorettes Gone Wild." While grooms are tempering their stag night shenanigans, brides-to-be are kicking stuffy traditions to the curb and getting rowdy to celebrate the end of their single lives.

"It was a blast," Margie Parsons, of Huber Heights, Ohio, said of her bachelorette party at a strip club. "I got handcuffed to the stage and two women gave me a lap dance."

Parsons' escapades do not surprise Kevin Cornell, who works as an exotic dancer in Chippendales' "Ultimate Girl's Night Out" male revue at Harrah's Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

"When we first started back in New York, it was only a Friday and Saturday thing," he said. "But now that we're in Vegas, any day of the week there are 10 to 20 bachelorette parties going on."
Cornell, who has been dancing with Chippendales for six years, points out that Harrah's built a custom theater for the show and signed the hunks to a 10-year contract — a kind of deal unheard of in Vegas just a decade ago.

And 10 years is a long time for a guy who faces throngs of boozy bachelorette parties each night. Cornell says packs of lascivious ladies have scratched him, pulled his hair and even bitten him on the backside — bawdy behavior that is fueled by the consumption of an astounding amount of alcohol.
"Sometimes they don't even make it through the entire show, and the show's only an hour and a half long," he said.

April Masini, author of "Think & Date Like a Man," says part of the reason for the change is that the women's liberation movement, for better or worse, has changed the meaning of marriage.
"It used to be seen as women were not giving anything up when they got married; they were gaining a husband," Masini said. "But now it's seen as their last hurrah because they're giving up their single life instead."

Masini, who offers dating advice on her Web site, says as gender roles have equalized in the minds of many Americans, women feel more comfortable acting up. But what about the guys?

"I think that men have become more conservative than women," Masini said. "I can tell you just from questions I get on my site there are more women having affairs than men and there are more men getting dumped by women. ... Women have less reasons to get married or remain in a marriage than they ever did before." To read the story in it's entirety, click here.

Lest you think it's just the hysteria of a conservative site, I performed a simple Google search and found pages of party ideas for those women who are looking to have one last fling right before they say "I do": from limos stoked with booze to take them to strip clubs (featuring male or female dancers) to cozy home parties with favors of an x-rated flavor. 

Katy Perry bragged bridesmaid Rihanna should strip for her, while Kendra saw plenty of female flesh and more at her recorded for "E!" bridal shower.

But I guess I can understand (somewhat) female entertainers being bawdy- many of them are all the time. It's pretty much part of their act. But why would regular women misbehave in such a way- especially since they seem to expect so much more from their grooms?

Unfortunately, I think that advice columnist April Masini is right. Many women, instead of viewing the beginning of their new life are too busy mourning the end of their single one. And perhaps they are bringing their feelings of bereavement into their marriages, giving them more reason to cheat.And then walk away. Which is making me want to scream "We want pre-nop, we want pre-nup, YEAH!" right along with all the jilted MEN.

Again, if this is what feminism is today, I want no part of it. If it's wrong for the gander, it IS wrong for the goose.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shacking Up For Love? Um, More Like For Money.

Homes in foreclosure, record high unemployment rates, drop in consumer confidence- all signs of the current (and continual) economic recession. But according to this Life Inc. story, there's another, more unexpected one: a sharp rise in the number of unmarried couples living together.

The number of unmarried couples living together shot up by 13 percent between 2009 and 2010, and some of the decisions may not have been completely motivated by romance.

Maybe more folks needed someone to help pay the rent.

Rose Kreider, a researcher with the U.S. Census, crunched the numbers and found that the sharp increase in opposite-sex couples living together coincided with a big jump in unemployment among the unmarried couples.

Nearly 7.5 million couples were cohabitating in 2010, up from about 6.7 million in 2009.
The number of unmarried people living together has generally risen since the Census started tracking the data in 1996, but the gains have rarely been so great. In fact, there was a statistically insignificant 2 percent drop in cohabitating couples from 2008 to 2009. That followed a 5 percent gain from 2007 to 2008.

The recession of 2007-09 has taken its toll on unmarried couples. In 2008, 59 percent of cohabitating couples said both partners were employed, but that percentage fell to 52 percent in 2009 and 49 percent in 2010.

In addition, people who moved in together this year were more likely to include at least one jobless partner than couples who already were living together. Kreiser said just 39 percent of newly cohabitating couples were both employed, compared with 50 percent of couples that were already together.

Although the recession officially started in December 2007, Kreiser speculates that the big spike in couples moving in together began more recently because, as unemployment has dragged on, more people have exhausted savings, unemployment benefits and other ways to pay rent on their own."

To read the whole story, click here

What do you think the life-span of a boyfriend/girlfriend cum roommate will be? Seems like a pretty shaky way to transition to living together. "I got laid-off. Let's take this relationship to the next level and live together. Oh, and toss your couch because I'm bringing mine."

A Day In The Life of...

Sometimes, I really feel they are like this.But if they're trolls, they'll also leave ridiculously long mean rants which question why they keep coming back. Yet somehow, like the cast of "The Hills", they do. Sigh. (First seen at Catholic & Enjoying It!")

Twenty Questions: October 19th

1.) Am I the only one scratching my head over Kanye's new album's cover art?

2.) How happy were you when those 33 miners in Chile finally were set free?

3.) So... Kim Kardashian thinks she's too old to pose nakey at 30, but was youthful enough to pull it off at almost 30?

4.) Are you alarmed like I am that Willow Smith wants to do a collabo with Lady Gaga?

5.) But isn't she the most awesome little 5th grader out there? Next to my nephew Nate, of course ;-)

6.) Isn't it very telling that even Meghan McCain thinks Christine O'Donnell is a "nutjob"?

7.) Is there any surprise that the number one Halloween costume for this year will most likely be Lady Gaga?

8.) When is Rihanna going to lose that awful red hair/wig/weave? She looks like she's wearing Elmo.

9.) Do you like the new "Law &Order: LA"? Because I haven't even tried it. Between the old Dr. Dre songs spinning in the commercials, Terrence Howard acting real EXTRA, and it being set in LA (!), I've just been put off from checking it out. I should clarify, I DO like old Dr. Dre songs. Just not in advertisements for "L&O".

10.) Come to think of it, do you think Dick Wolf is trying to bring back the urban audience he once had with "New York Undercover"?

11.) Did I just date myself terribly with that last question?

12.) What's a former Vibe-intern got to do to get some celeb (even D-List) to do an interview with her? Come on Woody from Dru Hill, you know you have some free time on your schedule.

13.) Isn't it scary that Sisqo had already split from Dru Hill when Willow Smith was just being born?

14.) Did I again date myself with the previous question?

15.) Am I the only heterosexual women not drooling over Trey Songz? Not that he isn't a good looking dude, but I've ridden this "Pony" before, and quite frankly, I'm not getting back in the saddle.

16.) Why does Usher want to be like Hugh Hefner? Eww. You know, Trey Songz isn't looking so bad...

17.) I know rapper MIA made a statement by showing up at the Spike Scream Awards in a burqa, but I'm not sure what that statement is. However, she certainly stood out from all the rest of the scantily clad ladies present, which is pretty cool.

18.) Speaking of the Spike Awards, aren't they totally unnecessary? Why does every two bit cable network have to host these things? And what is a "Scream" award anyway? Commemorating the last time anyone really cared to watch Neve Campbell?

19.) Do you think I could work in anymore 90's references? No? In Living Color, Vanilla Ice, "Camp Anawana", "Rugrats", Urkel, the "Carlton Dance" and  Puck from "The Real World". Whew, now I'm done.

20.) Like this blog? Tell your friends! Don't? Um, come again. :-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Hair is "Ghetto Fab"?

Yeah, so when I first saw the above picture, I thought "Cute." Then when I read the caption, it was more like, "What the h...?!?" From BGLH:

"For those who are unaware, Kohls is a major American department store. They revealed this “Ghetto Fab” (their words, not mine) wig for Halloween that makes you look like….. you’re natural? The tag line is “The disco-inspired Afro style of this adult wig makes it perfect for your festive outfit.”

I love the way they conflate “disco”, “festive” and “Afro” with ghetto. o_O When I think “Ghetto Fab” I think candy-colored weave… not a curly head of hair. This was clearly conceived by someone who has no clue about black culture.

At the end of the day, I looked at all this with a mystified expression and asked myself, “Who does this?”

I have no clue who would think calling a curly afro "Ghetto Fab" at KOHL'S... I SHOP AT KOHL'S... was a great idea, but I think the commentor who wrote we should call and complain has an excellent idea. I'm going to!

I went natural. Didn't know that's synonymous with "Ghetto Fab". By the way, that's me today, lol!

Religion Rundown: October 18th



"A man can beat his wife and kids as long as he leaves no physical marks, the United Arab Emirates' highest court has found.
The judgment came after a man slapped his wife and kicked and slapped his daughter, according to Abu Dhabi's The National newspaper.

In the case debated by the Federal Supreme court, the daughter was bruised on the hand and knee, while the wife's lip and teeth were injured.

According to the court, the injuries showed that the man had over-stepped his rights under Shariah, or Islamic law, the newspaper reported. He had originally been fined 500 United Arab Emirates dirhams ($136), but appealed the case twice. 

At 23, the daughter was deemed too old to have been disciplined, the newspaper said.

According to Shariah law, a man can beat his wife and children as long as he has first tries unsuccessfully to discipline them by admonishing and then abstaining from sexual relations with his wife."

 To read the rest of the story, click here.



From The New York Times:

"More than 100 Chinese Christians seeking to attend an international evangelical conference in South Africa have been barred from leaving the country, some in the group said, because their churches are not sanctioned by the state. 

Organizers say that more than 4,000 Christians from around the world will discuss faith, poverty, the AIDS epidemic and other issues at the nine-day conference, which begins Saturday in Cape Town. But members of the Chinese delegation said that they could get no farther than the passport control at international airports in China before officials confiscated their documents. 

“They said it is illegal to attend this conference, and they sent me home,” said Liu Guan, 36, a Protestant evangelical leader who tried to fly out of Capital International Airport in Beijing last Sunday. “The explanation was ‘for your own good.’ ” 

China’s policy toward Christians is more relaxed now than a decade ago. Although only government-sanctioned churches are considered legal, millions of Chinese — some say tens of millions — worship in unregistered house churches."

To read the rest of the story, click here.



From The Telegraph:

"He is an idle, pea-brained glutton with a permanent craving for doughnuts and Duff beer, but Homer Simpson has been declared a true Catholic by the Vatican's official newspaper.

The long-running cartoon series explores issues such as family, community, education and religion in a way that few other popular television programmes can match, according to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's daily broadsheet. 
The newspaper acknowledged that Homer snores through the sermons of the Reverend Lovejoy and inflicts "never-ending humiliation" on his evangelical neighbour, Ned Flanders. 

But in an article headlined "Homer and Bart are Catholics", the newspaper said: "The Simpsons are among the few TV programmes for children in which Christian faith, religion, and questions about God are recurrent themes." 

The family "recites prayers before meals and, in their own peculiar way, believes in the life thereafter".
It quoted an analysis by a Jesuit priest, Father Francesco Occhetta, of a 2005 episode of The Simpsons, The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star, which revolved around Catholicism and was aired a few weeks after the death of Pope John Paul II. 

The episode starts with Bart being expelled from Springfield Elementary School and being enrolled in a Catholic school where he meets a sympathetic priest, voiced by the actor Liam Neeson, who draws him into Catholicism with his kindness. 

Homer then decides to convert to Catholicism, to the horror of his wife Marge, the Rev Lovejoy and Ned Flanders. The episode touches on issues such as religious conflict, interfaith dialogue, homosexuality and stem cell research. 

"Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it, but it is true: Homer J Simpson is a Catholic," insists L'Osservatore Romano."

To read the rest of the story, click here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Black Marriage Negotiations

Well, I've got nothing but laughs here... lmbo!!!

Picture of The Week

Picture of The Week
K and Z enjoying the Christmas tree.

Pray for Our Nation

Got A Burning Question? Ask Me Here!

Featured Blog Of The Week

Featured Blog Of The Week
Afro-Europe Blog

What I'm Listening to Right Now

What I'm Listening to Right Now
"Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album" by Lupe Fiasco

What I'm Reading Right Now

What I'm Reading Right Now
"Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets"


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