Juneteenth, June 19th, is one of my favorite occasions. I look forward to it every year. I keep thinking, maybe next year, Google or Yahoo! will have a special design for their logo to spotlight Juneteenth… One day…

For anyone oblivious to the occasion, it marks the most recognized end to slavery. The story goes thus:

The Emancipation Proclamation (Lincoln) was a law abolishing slavery and freeing ALL slaves in ALL of the United States. It was issued on September 22, 1862, and was supposed to be effective as of January 1, 1863. However, that news (and enforcement) didn’t quite make it to the poor slaves in Galveston, Texas (and other Eastern Texan localities) until June 19, 1865. Yeah… a whole flippin’ 2 and a half years after the law was active. (Those law-breaking, self-righteous, Eastern Texan slave-holders really burn me up!!!) On that day, as the story goes, Union General Granger and troops arrived in Galveston not only to enforce the emancipation of the slaves (I bet they didn’t get 2.5 years of back pay… I know!!… efforts should be dedicated to getting their back pay to their ancestors!! I think there’s a word for that…..) but to also take over possession of Texas. Juneteenth started being celebrated in Galveston the VERY NEXT YEAR. Strawberry pop anyone…….?

It’s interesting that recently the Senate apologized for the first time to United State’s African-American descendants for the atrocities of slavery. (They really need to apologize to Africa for the atrocities of the American Slave trade… what? You think pilfering millions of Africa’s strongest men and women didn’t adversely effect their lives for centuries?) Among the apologizers where Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Sen. Brownback of Kansas.

Oh well, it just a twisted ritual of America. The apology means little to me (it does little except assuage some people’s guilt, and give others ammunition to rationalize deplorable points of view), but I know it means something to some people, and for that, I smile at it.

!!!!!!!!!!HAPPY JUNETEENTH 2009!!!!!!!!!
RBG UP!
UHURU
HOTEP!!!
PEACE

I really feel for mothers and fathers like Madeline Primoff, Darlene Ong [1], or even mai Mom and Dad who have felt the need to put an underage child out the car to walk home for misbehavior. I feel for mothers like Primoff who have been JAILED for such action.

First and foremost, DONT MAKE EMPTY THREATS. Do what you say you are going to do, or don’t say it. This is the only way threats like “Don’t make me pull this car over” are ever actually going to be effective. If you’ve set a history with other things that you do what you say.

This issue has come to light in the news recently because Primoff and her mother were in the car when they put out her 10 and 12 year old daughters for ‘acting out’. The mother was trying to teach the girls that if they behave badly, then they will have to suffer in a way that they wont like. Primoff (or her lawyer rather) said that she and her mother dropped the girls off on the street, drove around the block, and when they came back to retrieve them, the older girl was there, but the 10 year old was missing! Apparently, a passerby took the 10 yr old for ice cream and then dropped her off with a police officer. (Thank you passerby for not being a crazy person. I hope Primoff is thanking God for that.) Primoff called to report her daughter missing and when she arrived at the precinct to pick her up, Primoff was arrested and jailed overnight for abandoning the child.

Ok, wow this is ‘Get your ass out the car’ gone WRONG, terribly, terribly wrong. Could I ever image making my child walk home for bad behavior? HELL YEAH! Would I ever make mai child think that I was going to leave them somewhere they didn’t know and where they couldn’t get home from… NO! Inducing abandonment issues shouldn’t be the goal Mom. ABC News didn’t make it clear as to if the girls were dropped off at a place they knew and could possibly get home from.

Factors have to be taken in to consideration to effectively enact ‘Get your ass out the car’. (This tactic was supported by the ‘expert’ on ABC News though she said you should drive alongside the child as they walked.) If you think there’s a possibility you would enact this sort of disciplinary action on your child, why wouldn’t you have a premeditated game plan?

Factor Q: Number of offending children? There is strength in numbers. I’d be more likely to drop off 4 children than 2.

Factor X: Will the children stay with each other if I drop them off? ‘Get your ass out the car and you better not come home without your baby sister or this will seem like a walk in the park!” Obviously Primoff didn’t think that one thru. I can’t believe her 12 year old let the 10 year old go off on her own. I know families, where even if you are fighting, the parents have set up a system whereas the older siblings know they are responsible for the younger ones. I mean lets keep in mind, 12 is babysitting age!

Factor Y: What’s the weather like? What time of day is it? Are the children dressed appropriately?

Factor Z: Do the kids know the area? Do you as a parent know the area? How long will it take them to get home or to their destination? In mai childhood neighborhood I could ride mai bike to the park that was 15min away. I could’ve walked from there if I was interested in exercising. So dropping a 12 yr old there in daylight to walk home could be totally appropriate behavior. Also, I grew up in a rural country community, I wouldn’t drop a kid off on Skid Row in LA even if it was a short 45min walk to mai front door.

I think making children walk home can be a useful tool if it’s not used in the heat of the moment. That’s where this situation went wrong. If Primoff would have thought out the situation she probably wouldn’t be in such hot water. I dont disagree with the practice totally, but I do think the way Primoff went about it was irresponsible. I mean, a passerby picked her child up! Thank God the ice cream wasn’t drugged and she was delivered to an officer… but it could have just as easily gone another way. ‘Get your ass out the car and walk home’ can only be enacted when the risks have been calculated and its used as a teaching and discipline method not as an unthought about whim the parent goes on. Each situation is different, so assess your situation before you enact this, but there IS a place for it. If they piss you off 25 miles from home, wait till you are 4 miles from home, and make em walk if the factors line up. ‘That’s right Billy, you’re ass was made for walkin’, so that just what your bad ass is gonna do. I love you, see you when you get home’

1. ABC News

Men and women ARE different, and how we interact with the opposite sex is significant, and depicted about how we view our roles in society. I just had an interesting conversation with two 20-something women* about male/female dynamics in budding relationships. Laney’s been married one year, Mona’s been dating a guy for one month, and me, married for 5 years.

Mona is anxious to know if her relationship has reached exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend status, but isn’t sure about how to find out. She’s considering having a friend ask the guy, in a round-a-bout way. Laney advises to ‘hold off’ and let the guy take the initiative in that respect. Laney finds it best to wait for men to say ‘I love you’ first because ‘men like to do things like that’. She believes woman can be assertive without being dominant, and that not letting the man take the initiative is usurping his dominance. She says women can be assertive by ‘getting what they want’ without having to have a discussion. She has a girlfriend who’s been wanting to say she loves her guy since a few months into their relationship, but has been waiting for 3 years for him to say it first, and therefore doesn’t quite know where their relationship stands. I say, if you are in a relationship (where you desire longevity), ask questions flat out, clearly, and as they arise. I don’t see a place for poor communication and inhibition in a healthy adult relationship. I see finding a back-door way of talking about things with your partner so that he feels more like the ‘direction-setter’ as a form of playing games that everyone should avoid. I am a big believer and appreciator of feminine wiles, but I like to ‘get what I want’ by talking it out.

I’m sure part of my POV comes from my distaste for men who shy away from assertive women. Is being ‘too domineering’ a concern that women in fledgling relationships ?All men are different, as are situations and relationships. Most would agree that there are times when the woman should say ‘I love you’ first and such. But the true question is: Is there ANY circumstance where a woman who questions the status of her relationship should wait for the man to establish it before asking questions? Is she gonna ‘run off’ the potential love of her life? Should you ever stay silent from your partner when you have questions? Should you play ‘harmless’ covert games to find out what you need to know?

I feel like NOT asking questions as they arise is putting your life on hold. If he wants to be exclusive and so do you, fine; but if he doesn’t, and you don’t find out, then you are going to turn down other dating opportunities. How’s that fair?

*Names have been changed to protect Mai

ProgressiveU: http://www.progressiveu.org/blog/mai

Gaia: http://markmaiwords.gaia.com/blog

Hood Doctors: http://thehooddoctors.ning.com/profiles/blog/list?user=3ld643w6vk6z9

Blogger: http://mrsmai.blogspot.com/

Yikes, touchy subject right? This issue is on the minds of millions. But this is essentially the response that Miss America first runner-up California’s Carrie Prejean gave last night on the Miss America Pageant contest. Infamous online celebrity gossiper, and totally gay dude Perez Hilton asked Prejean the tough question. (I felt sorry for the girl when she got it. I mean Miss Arizona had to answer a question about how she got her childhood nickname- lame.) Hilton was obviously not excited by her answer. Though it was neck in neck all night between the top two, Miss North Carolina’s Kristen Dalton (gorgeous blue gown btw) won the title. So did that question cause the title for California? And would that be ‘just’?

Its funny that Prejean is from California because I tend to think of Cali as a liberal, (somewhat hedonistic), live and let live, anything goes sort of atmosphere, though of course you get all types everywhere… (I mean I don’t think fiery Miss Utah was Mormon but I don’t know…)

There is never going to be a time where everyone in the country supports marriage equality. There’s never going to be a time where we all agree on everything. Keeping that in mind, should Perez Hilton ‘hold that against’ Prejean? Can a Miss America who doesn’t support marriage equality accurately represent this increasingly diverse nation?

I too was brought up with a religious background that doesn’t support gay lifestyle. That shouldn’t be a big surprise, I dont think most people are. However, I was also brought up not to pass judgement on people. You can still like people and recognize that people are good people without agreeing with everything they do, basically. I also happen to be pretty liberal. And I think that politics and laws are not currently governed by religious morals (beautiful wicked world)…. so therefore, its not just (by law/politics/etc) to have unequal marriage rights, en mon avis…

I say all that to say, thought I dont agree with Prejean ‘per se’ it had to be pretty difficult for her to answer Hilton as she did. And there’s a lot to be said for standing your ground. I’m proud of that in her, and I’d like to be proud of Miss America.

“Synecdoche, New York” is an intriguing, thought-provoking drama about_______________________________________. (fill in the blank)

I’m formulating my ideas and processing my feelings about this work, and have chosen to do so before I research any reviews or analysis so that I can keep my thoughts as pure as possible. But artist and cultural activist Erykah Badu’s lyrics come to mind, “What good do your words do, if they can’t understand you?” Can art be too abstract for its own good?

This film reminded me of a well thought out play. It’s no secret that plays are generally thought to have more depth than movies. I believe this is because (among many things*) the generally short time span plays encompass as opposed to films, and therefore the audience in invited to experience the entire world of the piece infinitely more than with cinema. However, this film spans nearly 2 decades (I think). I still felt like I was watching Angles in America by Tony Kushner or perhaps In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks. That delightful heavy feeling you experience with a show like that, was felt while watching this film. I was so impressed.

Generally, plays tend to lean towards the abstract more than films. Synecdoche, New York was definitely abstract. In this work we follow a theatre director named Caden though several romantic and familial relationships as he attempts to understand himself, a goal he never achieves (or perhaps only slightly achieves by having his life completely manipulated by a theatre director playing himself). He is awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (“Genius Award”) and plans to create a huge production to tout his skills. He sets his pseudo-performance art style play in a warehouse and has a cast as large as the community of people he surrounds himself with. Let’s just say its a MASSIVE production. The play is never fully mounted (I think).

It’s not an easy film to describe. I recommend everyone see this thought-provoking film. What did I take away? A reinforced idea that life is obscure, and the relationships within are based on an innumerable amount of absurd details.  That happen to be fascinating because of what they may suggest about one another. (Why where the psychiatrist’s shoes so damaging to her feet and why did she ignore it? Why was Hazel’s house always on fire?) I also remember that life is not about the individual. Keeping this in mind should put ego, paranoia, anxiety, and selfishness in perspective.

It seemed that Caden (was he ever really sick? and was there anything significant about Olive’s green poop at the film’s start?) was unable to overcome the stress with directing his own life, though he was astute in directing actors. Eventually, an actor, playing Caden as a theatre director had to direct him in his everyday life until his death. Or had he become just another actor in the play?

This film will leave you with plenty of questions.

Footnote:
* films make more money and have the luxury of being as trivial as they want because they have a larger audience

A full length version (though unrendered) of the unreleased movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine was leaked on the internet.

Ethics-noun [in sing. ]
a set of moral principles, esp. ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct

Let’s talk about nethics- (a new word as far as I know- I like making words lol). ethics using the medium of the internet.

I only found out around this past January that you can watch (without downloading, but streaming video)full length feature films online (I can hear the youth laughing cuz I’m way behind the times). I told my 60 something yr old mother, and she didn’t believe me. ‘How could you possibly in any way be able to watch feature films online, soon after their their releases (let alone before!) for free?’ Mai  own mother didn’t believe me, until I showed her.

Most online movies are usually ‘bootleg’ copies, where someone paid to see the movie at the theatre, videotaped it and put it on the Net. But honestly, I still don’t know how an unreleased movie like Wolverine could be leaked UNLESS by someone working on the film. However, before the net, you could BUY bootleg copies from street vendors, but now they just put it on the net for no profit? That’s kinda weird. A sort of recession time, entertainment- Robin Hooding? You decide…

It’s theft. It’s wrong. But its a de facto practice by many.

Pro
Movies require millions of dollars, and make millions of dollars, movie stars and celebrities make exorbitant amounts of money performing (often producing great works of art) essentially a needless service.

When I was about 8 or 9yrs old, I was angered, confused, and saddened to the point of tears when I understood the wage differences between athletes (celebrities) and teachers. I didn’t understand how such an important job (teaching), was so less monetarily valued. Now of course I understand the industry of art and the industry of education…

We are in a recession, and it’s survival of the fittest, would Darwin watch movies for free online??? I’m not sure, but I believe many who watch movies online wouldn’t wouldn’t bother to watch them at all if they weren’t online.

Con
Bootlegged films will make less money. The stars will be the last to suffer.
Sure the studios loose money, but in the most direct of ways the movie theatres will be hurt. Their janitors, popcorn vendors, ticket sellers, the average working people. Not to mention the people who work tirelessly at places like BlockBuster.

With this in mind, are they still worth watching in this manner?

The constitution (or the people charged with exercising it) has failed to recognize and practice many of its statues since its inception, making it untrustworthy. I don’t believe that since something is written down, I’m protected, because that hasn’t been the case.

IT’S JUST A PIECE OF TEXT. It’s just a set of laws (some which permit individual states to do horrible things) that a group of people (majority of whom just happen to have been notorious bigots) made up. It also allows great injustices to prevail, like how, when, and where people are allowed to engage in adult activities.

People want to denigrate the Bible because they think its fictional, irrelevant, or can’t be proven. I think that the constitution is fictional, and hypocritical. People act like I can’t look upon the constitution unfavorably. Telling me to leave the country because I voice disapproval of the constitution (or don’t choose to participate in the judicial system in a conventional manner) is like that “Christian” pastor going online perpetrating an ignorant atheist, then coming back to minister to his alter ego. Its hypocritical. If you put all your faith in something (other than spiritual) that’s wrong, and its warping your view of life.

People worship the constitution and make it seem like I must too. People hold the constitution to be some infallible text. The constitution did not invent freedom or even grant freedom. People act as if you are going against the word of freedom if you question it. My freedom comes from my humanity, ultimately people’s worship of the constitution seems to justify the idea the U.S. is better than other countries because the U.S. has the constitution. People, people, people make the constitution untrustworthy and corrupt. And there has never been a time when they haven’t.

I’ve never subscribed to ANY political party. But if I were to, the Republican party would not be high up on mai list. I don’t identify with their general sensibilities or views of society and economic hierarchy. However, I greatly appreciate what Sarah Palin has done (vastly inadvertent) for women in politics. Thank you Sarah.

Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond, George W. Bush, George Washington, the list goes on and on for men in politics with reprehensible behavior. Men in politics represent the noble, the greedy, the detestable, and the (nearly) righteous. Truly the spectrum of men in politics is wider than women. Therefore, men are seen as multi-dimensional figures. Of course some of them are bad, of course some of them are ugly, of course some of them will make mistakes, and make bad choices, and force the country into turmoil. Because even though that is part of their character’s capacity, so is the other extreme for doing good.

Women in politics aren’t seen the same way to the same extent. Our most notable women are Clinton, Pelosi, Chisholm, and Rice. Lesser known politicians are Maxine Waters and C. Delores Tucker. But for the most part (nothing is total of course), women in the history of politics have been respectable do-gooders. This is a nice legacy to uphold. But I am constantly defending Palin. Not because I agree with her book banning, wolf aerial hunting, victims pay for forensic rape kits, charging Alaskan tax-payers to foot the bill for her daughters to see the world, pulling strings to get her in-laws unjustly hired and fired antics. But because she is one more woman sculpting the national, political view. One more woman to crack a ceiling. One more woman to add to the face of women in politics. She has shaped an idea of what women can be in American politics, at this point, for good or bad isn’t that important.

Though I’m SURE I will never subscribe to any political party in my life (save, perhaps the Nunya Party*) I have to give Palin her props, just for existing. I ‘love’ her ideology even less than I ‘love’ the Constitution (Problem with that? There isn’t a dayum thing you can do about it, I’m not going anywhere, and frankly its none of your business). It’s none of your business how a person votes AND if they choose to vote or abstain from voting one and all. But I defiantly hope Palin’s accomplishment is not as forgotten as those of Geraldine Ferraro.

*http://www.progressiveu.org/blog/51282-nunya-party

NY Post: Power to the Protest

February 20, 2009

I am in awe every time I see the power of the people manifested in demonstrations as it has been for the past few days with the protestors of the New York Post.

Longtime political cartoonist Sean Delonas drew a picture that was published in the Post this Wednesday. Many feel this cartoon played on the racist history of Blacks being compared to primates.*

The strength, tenacity, courage, and determination of protesters is often times inspiring. How awesome that this group of people got together to make a change, and they saw results from it.

The New York Post issued an apology today to those they offended with the cartoon. The apology was a bit back-handed because they refused to apologize to those they believe initiated the opposition. They felt those with long time grievances used this cartoon as an opportunity to enact revenge on the controversial and conservative newspaper. (Though they didn’t name names, the main opponent has been Rev. Al Sharpton, and I think we can infer they are talking about him.)

It is very possible that the Post and Delonas didn’t intended any racial slur with the cartoon. I am willing to take them at their word that the chimp is a parody of Travis the chimp that was shot on Monday by police officers paired with a mock of the economic stimulus bill. However, there is NO WAY they didn’t anticipate the implications that would be felt by comparing the author of the current stimulus bill (not only President Obama, but he IS the face of the bill) to a violent chimpanzee. In addition, they shot the chimp= they shot the author of the stimulus bill= they shot the President!!?? That’s funny?

Many people want to site that President Bush was at times compared to monkeys as well. However, there is no history of whites being compared to primates in a racial defamation. If Bush had been compared to a Ritz of something with a comparative history, then (I would be outraged) a comparison could be made.

The Post shouldn’t be surprised by the public backlash. I didn’t even know about Travis until after I saw the bru-ha-ha over the cartoon. I’m sure many around the world will see this cartoon, know nothing of Travis, and instantly see it as a racial slur.

I am delighted the protestors got a semblance of an apology. We must stay on offensive people/media. We must never give up. Protest reminds us that there is much more that we can/must do for our communities than simply casting a ballot every 4 years.

I want to dedicate this to all the demonstrators (many of whom were college students) in 2003 that were jailed just for protesting the Iraqi War on the streets of Chicago, and to those who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Frankfort, KY in 1965.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!! UHURU!! HOTEP!!

* You can see the original cartoon here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/18/national/main4809291.shtml

** You can see an altered version of the cartoon (not by Delonas) here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-camp/how-the-new-york-post-mon_b_168199.html

Deciding to join the naturopathic profession definitely requires me to make mature sacrifices in the life of my family. I must scrutinize my finances, postpone plans for children, uproot my family, abandon the theatre, leave a President Barack Obama administration, and conquer general anxieties. However, enumerating these sacrifices makes it all the more apparent how I cherish the naturopathic profession. Immigrating to Canada is an expensive and nerve-racking transition requiring our entire savings. Visas, passports, tuition, and housing are just some of the expensive necessities. The immigration process has taken years of planning and budgeting. Our search for new housing, banking, phone carrier, and employment for my husband has been a series of uphill battles. Even now, there is a high level of uncertainty about our financial future in this new country. My husband and I live quite frugally. I look forward to the day when we won’t have to be so restricted by our finances. The next five years will not afford us this luxury. How could they with the time, money, and effort required to transition into returning to college and immigrating? I have been married for nearly five years. We have a blessed marriage and are anxiously thinking about starting a family. Initially, we planned to try for children next year in 2010. However, when I decided to study naturopathy we determined that the time and expense required to provide for a child couldn’t even be considered until the 3rd year of the program. Even then it will still depend on where I stand at that time in the future and in the program. Though many say there is never a specific “right” time to have a child, there is definitely a “wrong” time to have a child, and beginning my education at CCNM would be one of them. Expenses are compounded by living away from loved ones for half a decade. This is daunting. Family and friends provide a ready-made moral, spiritual, financial, and emotional support. Our loved ones are quick to note that we will be a whole other country away. I feel I’ve neglected loved ones for the past eight years since I’ve left my beloved hometown; first moving to Chicago, then to Los Angeles. Oftentimes, it seems I abandon my friends right when our bonds are growing and they need me the most. I feel guilty about leaving my family and not being a present role model for my nieces and nephews in such a critical time in their youth. Theatre and art have been a consistent passion in my life. In undergraduate studies, I attained a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Theatre with a concentration in directing. When I decided to start naturopathy I didn’t anticipate the extent this intensive program would demand. Though I will be a lifelong patron of the theatre, I fear there will be no immediate time to participate. No directing, acting, stage managing, designing, or anything of that nature until my education is well underway. I’ve spent my last twelve years training in theatre, building up several professional relationships, and establishing the building blocks of a career. Theatre had been my future, so entering into a fresh discipline will be an added challenge. I must immerse myself into this new world yet keep sharp skills I’ve spent so long developing. This is an historic time that is especially poignant for Americans. Most of the citizens of the States are very excited and looking forward to living under a President Obama administration. It is somewhat bittersweet that we can’t be in the States while he is leading the country. These past eight years, under the former Bush Administration, have been a time of fear, anxiety, and trepidation for the country and in fact the world. We all have tremendous anticipation for the next four years to come. In some respect, I will be missing out of a firsthand experience. General anxieties about healthcare, employment, travel, and maintaining a fitness routine flood my thoughts daily. I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) but hate taking oral contraception to regulate my cycle. School makes it impossible to start a family or afford a child. Through naturopathy, I hope to find an alternate solution for my PCOS. I’m proud of working with the Girl Scouts of the San Fernando Valley. I set up their curriculum and fostered positive girl to girl relations. My thoughts of working with the affiliated Girl Guides were crushed with the realization that my student status doesn’t allow for a work permit. I love to travel but have had to delay plans to explore Northern Africa with my parents and husband for years. Ideally, I’ll quell my wanderlust by travelling to Europe, Asia, and Africa during the summers when classes are out. I worry this goal will not be attainable. I’m not thoroughly optimistic that these next five years of school will allow the time or expense for exploration abroad. I’ve recently made changes in my lifestyle that benefit my health. They have enabled me to loose an excessive 50 lbs. I’ve become much more active. I realize that keeping up with my lifestyle will be hard because I will not be able to resume my gym routine for several weeks while we are getting settled. I worry that falling out of my routine will cause me to never get back on track. In spite of this, I have a healthy outlook. Loved ones are afforded comfort in that we used to live in California, which is three times farther from Midwest America than Toronto. The distance will inspire some to attain a passport and travel abroad for the first time. I am blessed to have their love and support for my future. I hope to show my nieces and nephews that a career in medicine is not out of reach. I’m optimistic that a warm, receptive, diverse faculty, staff, and student body will aide us in developing new community. There is potential to stay within the theatre arts loop by volunteering at box office or ushering. I’m mindful that Obama’s influence is sure to be felt worldwide, and planning is always in the works to fulfill lifelong travel dreams. This transition is giving me an invaluable opportunity to grow as a person and as a professional. My education requires me to give in to my passion for community service and social activism. It also prompts me to face a fear of taking risks. Most importantly, naturopathic medicine gives me the chance to have a life of passion, educate others, and provide alternate options for their healthcare future. This is quite satisfying.